Even with widespread and well-known patient concerns about the pricing of healthcare services, one of the most contentious issues for patients is being able to even access the care or information that they need. After all, patient engagement only works when they are able to see a clinician to begin with.
The better the access to care, the more likely it is that a patient will receive proper treatment and prevent future visits. Otherwise, health problems can be compounded down the line. This is why healthcare professionals invested in patient engagement have taken steps to ease the burden of the following challenges for patients.
Lack of Education
For patients, sometimes the first step towards having them see a care professional is making them aware of their treatment options. While specialized care facilities have improved the quality of attention that patients receive, the wealth of options can be overwhelming—and many simply don’t know where to go.
It falls to medical professionals to make the scope of their services apparent to any potential patients. This may be an issue of creating better websites that outline the kind of ailments a facility is suited to treat.
Location Problems, Lack of Professionals
A large city may have a wealth of specialized facilities and well-trained medical professionals, but will a rural town? Between an increase in rural care facilities shutting down to a lack of talent serving these areas, people living in rural areas are feeling the pressure.
While telemedicine has eased some of these burdens, many are calling on policy changes to ensure that underserved regions are receiving the attention they need. Incentivizing medical professionals to practice in these areas could help close the substantial gap in coverage for rural patients.
Booking an appointment is one thing, but for patients with physical limitations, getting to a care center is quite another. Calling an ambulance is infamous for being so expensive that many will avoid it, even in a life-threatening situation.
Some healthcare organizations have partnered with ridesharing apps, such as Uber and Lyft, to alleviate the transportation concerns for patients. While ambulances are still necessary for dire emergencies, patients that are unable to transport themselves to a care facility can find an alternative, third-party means of making it to their appointments on time.
While care facilities strive to make themselves available as much as possible for patients, some office hours have too much overlap with standard working hours, making it difficult for patients to successfully plan a visit. Additionally, many patients wish to have immediate access to healthcare when they need it.
For the latter problem, an increase in urgent care facilities is providing a middle ground between an appointment in a clinic and the emergency room. However, the simplest solution may be the best; manipulating office hours to stagger appointments has been proven to allow for the best patient coverage.