Healthcare is a necessity that every individual needs regardless of life circumstances such as geography. Backcountries are places that tend to be secluded and farther from everyday institutions and resources. As a result of the location, locals in farm towns are more likely to have issues when seeking treatment. Availability, accessibility, and affordability are important factors to consider when improving healthcare in rural areas.
Availability is vital to healthcare because patients in rural areas may need medical care the same-day or after hours. This issue can be resolved by bringing in more practitioners to offices and hospitals in these areas to account for treatment needed and cut down on long wait times. Another solution is telemedicine. Digital healthcare allows patients to hold doctors’ appointments from home and reduce the time issues in waiting rooms caused by late or no-show appointments. Accessibility is a second factor to improving healthcare in rural areas. Patients may have a problem getting to medical professionals. Transportation can be enhanced by having clinics work with local taxis or bus companies to send patients from their homes to the office. Virtual healthcare is another solution to accessibility. This option is effective because it eliminates the need for travel by providing the opportunity to speak with a doctor from home. Lastly, affordability is a barrier to accessing healthcare. Rural patients may have to travel an hour to receive medical care and it may be out of network for their insurance. Telemedicine is a cheaper alternative to receiving treatment and can cost as low as $40 while in-person visits can cost close to $120 minimum.
Improving availability, accessibility, and affordability can increase effective healthcare outcomes in rural areas. The most important connecting factor is education. By implementing these changes and informing patients of these options, more individuals in rural towns will be able to receive the treatment they deserve.
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