The week blog describes Access to Healthcare in the US population
We are told that many people in the United States do not get the recommended /required health care services; this is due to a myriad of reasons-including fear, ignorance and or financial restrictions. Research has also shown that many people in this marginalized population are less likely to have a primary care provider and thus, may not have access to the available healthcare services and/or treatment options.
Lets look at some key phrases:
What is Access to Healthcare?
Access concerns itself with helping people identify and locate the appropriate health care resources in order to maintain or improve their health
Why is Access important?
Access is important for promoting and maintaining health, preventing and managing disease, reducing unnecessary disability and premature death, and achieving health equity for all Americans
How is Access managed?
Formulated by Penchansky and Thomas (in 1981), Access to care is characterize by five As and reflects the fit between the providers and the clients. it’s by addressing these factors that we can effectively manage the Access issue.
The five A’s being:
- Affordability: how the provider’s charges relate to the client’s ability and willingness to pay for services.
- Availability: the extent to which the provider has the resources, such as personnel and technology, to meet the needs of the client.
- Accessibility: geographic accessibility, which is determined by how easily the client can physically reach the provider’s location.
- Accommodation: the provider’s operation and it’s fit with the client requirement. This includes – hours of operation, how telephone communications are handled, and the client’s ability to receive care without prior appointments.
- Acceptability: how comfortable is the client with the more immutable characteristics of the provider, and vice versa. These characteristics include the age, sex, social class, and ethnicity of the provider (and of the client).
In order to address Access to Healthcare one must acknowledge that these five A’s to access are intertwined and related. All the aforementioned factors must be assessed, correcting any and all deficiencies thus allowing for the ultimate goal of improvements in the client’s health outcome.