SOC 280 Healthcare Access and Barriers
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Possible Research Paper Topics
Narratives of health and recovery
Disability (mental and physical)
U.S. healthcare policy
Nationalized healthcare systems
Healthcare access and barriers
Additional at-risk populations
Additional illness experiences
Public health interventions
Metaphors and illness
Gender and the body
Race and the body
Social structure of medical education
Medicine and activism
Historical models of illness
Sexual and reproductive health
Health and social justice
Bioethics and medical decision-making
Death and dying
Genetic testing and diagnosis
Assisted reproductive technologies
Illness in literature and film
Telehealth technology is helping provide better access to healthcare and easing the healthcare disparity gap among core American populations from seniors to rural residents. Find out how telehealth is showing promise for some of the biggest challenges to equitable healthcare access.
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While being one of the most technologically advanced and wealthy countries in the world, access to healthcare in the United States falls disappointingly short. And it’s not only the poor or disadvantaged who struggle with getting timely and appropriate access to healthcare services. Middle- and even upper-income Americans who live in rural communities or face mobility challenges are also at risk of not receiving or seeking out proper care.
While telemedicine cannot solve the greater issues of healthcare delivery in this country, telehealth is proving to be one method of equalizing the disparities in access to care among underserved or vulnerable populations. Here we explore some of the key barriers to healthcare access in the US and how telemedicine can help.
1. Transportation Barriers to Healthcare Access
Each year, 3.6 million Americans do not receive medical care due to transportation issues and 4 percent of American children miss a medical appointment for the same reason. And transportation is cited as the third most common barrier to healthcare access. Common transportation-related obstacles include long-distance travel, lack of a vehicle, costs, and inadequate infrastructure. While public transportation improvements like ridesharing, improved bus access, and bike lanes can moderately help in urban or suburban communities, these may not be possible or available in many rural communities.
How telehealth can help
Telehealth comes to you. Telehealth can close the transportation disparity gap by delivering virtual healthcare services directly to the patient, at home, school, or work. Telemedicine kiosks, just starting to roll out, could also provide more convenient accessible care in places like local pharmacies, airports, and universities, potentially easing the transportation burden for patients to and from the clinic.
2. Geographic Barriers to Healthcare Access
According to the US Census Bureau, approximately one in five Americans or 60 million people live in rural communities. And rural residents receive lower-quality healthcare and have worse outcomes on several scores compared to urban and suburban dwellers. Physician shortages, poverty, a greater number of uninsured, and long travel distances add up to major discrepancies in healthcare equality between urban and rural America and pose a challenge to the national healthcare system that must be addressed.