Everyone should have access to healthcare. Healthcare access is how easily a person can obtain healthcare services after considering the various barriers that stand in the way. Many of these barriers are not the fault of the people seeking healthcare services, but they are the ones impacted the most. Removing them would make healthcare services more accessible, but what can be done to remove them?
Removing Transportation Barriers
Transportation is a significant reason why many people do not have access to the healthcare services they need. The lack of transportation can be due to age, health conditions, geographic features, or lack of physical transportation infrastructure.
A demographic affected the most by this is people living in rural areas who have to travel tens of miles to get to a healthcare facility. Those who cannot drive have to rely on private or public transportation, which is not always reliable. Those who can drive have to take time off work and spend money on fuel to get themselves or their loved ones to healthcare facilities.
Removing this barrier would require local governments to either improve transportation infrastructure, build healthcare facilities closer to the communities that require them, or better equip those that are available so they can provide the services the communities around them need.
Streamlining Provision and Access of Insurance Services
Whether someone or their loved one has health insurance is one of the biggest determinants of whether they get the healthcare services they need when they need them. Healthcare is becoming quite expensive for most people, with even high-income households reporting that paying out-of-pocket for insurance is untenable in the long term. For this reason, cost remains a significant barrier to healthcare services for many people.
It therefore follows that streamlining the provision of and access to health insurance will help many more people get the insurance they need. The good news is that there are now convenient options for doing so.
Members can sign up for a service that provides a card that gives them access to health insurance and other healthcare services they need. The single Dual Network benefit card makes managing insurance providers easier, reduces out-of-pocket insurance costs, and streamlines deductibles and co-pays.
Extended Telehealth Services
In cases where healthcare providers do not want to or find it not feasible to build healthcare facilities in rural or small communities, they should consider providing telehealth services. They can do this directly to patients or through partnerships with healthcare facilities that might not have the equipment, staff, and infrastructure that larger or urban facilities typically do.
Cloud-based data and telecommunications can enable patients to see doctors and for doctors to coordinate their care through the healthcare providers located in these facilities. Patients can also get access to specialists who they would otherwise not.
Investing in Mobile Clinics
Alternative treatment sites, including mobile clinics, are an excellent solution to geographical and mobility barriers to healthcare. Instead of the patients traveling long distances to talk to healthcare providers, they can access them closer to where they work and live.
Healthcare access remains a serious issue for many people, especially those economically disadvantaged or living in small and rural areas. Breaking down these barriers will require investment, but different governments and organizations are already investing in different solutions to eliminate them.