Limited Access to Healthcare in the United States
In the United States, access to healthcare services remains to be a great challenge affecting both rural and urban residents. There are many reasons why consumers encounter challenges in accessing healthcare. Some of these reasons include transport challenges, geographic locations, provider availability mobility, language barriers, and no or limited health insurance. The paper discusses the issues of limited access to healthcare and provides potential intervention approaches.
I am interested in the topic because technology is underutilized in the U.S despite the fact that the United States has some the sophisticated technological machines and soft wares. The patients and some nurses have no idea how to use technology at their disposal to better the healthcare field. Some technologies such as telemedicine and accessing online information on healthcare are not effectively used and that’s why access to health services is limited. Therefore, exploring these technologies among other interventions will help in addressing some of the methods of increasing access to health services.
I have several years of experience in working in regions where access to health services has been problematic. The most affected people are those in rural and marginalized communities. However, when working in such regions I used to advice the sick on some of the ways they can use to access health services faster. I emphasized on the proper use of technology which helped in curbing some of the issues. Therefore, I have experience with how proper utilization of technology can minimize the limited access to healthcare challenges.
A search strategy is a technique of sourcing information from databases by the use of an organized structure of key terms. When using a search strategy it is extremely important to formulate a sensible question that can undergo an efficient search. In this case, the question was “what are some of the reasons for limited access to healthcare in America and potential intervention approaches?” The databases searched in this particular case include MEDLINE, Cochrane, google scholar, and EMBASE. Searching was primarily based on keywords although other methods were also used. Some of the keywords used in this case included healthcare access, consumer health information, online health information seeking, health information systems, chronic disease, and health-seeking behavior, health information search, and rural nursing.
Using the keyword searching technique, 27 articles were obtained which were further subjected to scrutiny to determine peer-reviewed journals. Only journals less than five years old with relevant information to the topic were used in this research. The process reduced the number from 27 to 5 which is a manageable number.
Bhandari, N., Shi, Y., & Jung, K. (2014). Seeking health information online: does limited healthcare access matter? Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 21(6), 1113-1117.
The article is relevant in this context because it addresses how consumers can be able to seek health information online, especially those encountering barriers to access to healthcare. According to Pew surveys conducted on the use of the internet, 40% of seekers of online information use the info in diagnosing their conditions. About 50% of such people perceive that online information has proved useful in the self-treatment of their symptoms without seeking advice from medical specialists. Therefore, seeking healthcare information online greatly contributes to easing access to healthcare to clients. Some of these people include those experiencing financial difficulties, people with challenges with getting to see the doctors in time, and those with challenges in creating a schedule for clinic hours. The research found that if the needs of healthcare are not met, people show high demand for health information offered online. The article argues that web portals increase patient satisfaction and improve the delivery of healthcare services. As a result, seeking healthcare information online significantly improves the access to healthcare services.
Lee, K., Hoti, K., Hughes, J. D., & Emmerton, L. (2014). Dr Google and the consumer: a qualitative study exploring the navigational needs and online health information-seeking behaviors of consumers with chronic health conditions. Journal of medical Internet research, 16(12).
The publication is relevant in this case because it explores the navigational requirements of consumers who access health information online. The issue addressed, in this case, is how consumers use the internet to access healthcare information concerning the side effects of medications. Moreover, the material also covers the extrinsic and intrinsic barriers faced by consumers. Some of these barriers include limited eHealth literacy which is an intrinsic barrier and inconsistency of information which is an extrinsic barrier. The study reported the extrinsic barriers among the study participants which included better filtration of online health information and healthcare specialists offering directions to consumers regarding suitable online resources. The article found that patient activation and eHealth literacy are some of the prevailing concepts in the aspect of the behavior of consumers in seeking health information online. Therefore, the article is useful in managing chronic diseases and also recognizing the problems encountered by the consumers with regard to online information.
Pratt, D. (2015). Telehealth and Telemedicine in 2015. Alb. LJ Sci. & Tech., 25, 495.
The article is important because it addresses the benefits of using telehealth and telemedicine improving the access to healthcare services. According to the arguments made by the proposers of telehealth and telemedicine, the technology leads to fewer cases of hospitalizations and reduces the expensive costs of visiting emergency rooms. Additionally, telemedicine and telehealth services are more convenient than manual methods and result in timely treatment. Pratt found that the technologies minimize travel costs and time loss during working hours. Moreover, the services are well coordinated and enable the older people to remain within the support networks. They are effective in minimizing some of the challenges associated with limited access to healthcare.
Ware, P., Bartlett, S. J., Paré, G., Symeonidis, I., Tannenbaum, C., Bartlett, G., & Ahmed, S. (2017). Using eHealth technologies: Interests, preferences, and concerns of older adults. An interactive journal of medical research, 6(1).
The study is essential in this case because it explores the interests, concerns, and preferences of the aged people in the utilization of eHealth and the internet for health management. The publication asserts that eHealth technologies like remote monitoring controls and PHRs (personal health records) are particularly useful in self-management health efforts on a wider scale. For instance, the linking of PHRs to EHRs (electronic health records) offers people secure access to their PHI (personal health information). Additionally, the technology provides direct access to healthcare professionals in some cases. Easy access to service providers and staying updated with current health information inspire patients of chronic illnesses to study more about their health conditions. The technology also enables them to be more responsible in the management of their health and eases communication between them and medical professionals. Thus, eHealth services have significant contributions to the provision of in-home healthcare services curbing the challenge of limited access to healthcare service.
There are various things I have learned by conducting this research. First, online information has proved useful in self-treatment the patients’ symptoms without seeking advice from medical professionals. Besides, limited eHealth literacy and inconsistency of information are some of the intrinsic and extrinsic barriers respectively towards accessing healthcare. I also learned that telehealth and telemedicine lead to less cases of hospitalizations and reduce the expensive costs of visiting emergency rooms. Furthermore, the process of connecting PHRs to EHRs provides people secure access to their PHI.
The articles I chose for this research greatly contributed to enhancing my knowledge about limited access to healthcare. For instance, the publication by Pratt (2015) improved my knowledge about telehealth and telemedicine and how they contribute to addressing the challenge of limited access to healthcare services. The article by Bhandari & Jung, (2014) enhanced my knowledge about seeking information online and some of the benefits associated with it. It improved my understanding that web portals increase patient satisfaction and improve the delivery of healthcare services.