Geographic Maldistribution Of Physicians And Other Hcps
1113 WordsMar 12, 20175 Pages
Geographic Maldistribution of Physicians The United States has a significant “delivery of care” issue wherein physicians (and other HCPs) are concentrated in and around major cities and densely populated areas. This leaves rural populations with fewer physicians and more difficult access to care.
Why It’s Happening
Healthcare access and delivery in rural area has been challenging not only within the U.S., but also in many developed countries. Many issues seem to be common to this maldistribution of physicians and other HCPs. According to Weinhold and Gurtner1, ” [c]ommunities have become progressively disempowered by the continuous centralization of services and the dismantling of infrastructure.” Rural populations tend to be at…show more content…
Specialized physicians tends to stay in urban areas due to the presence of hospitals offering them more up-to-date technology, better hours, and more resources available to them. Underserved (rural) areas tend to have fewer resources for professional support due to lack of budget and location. Rural practitioners tend to serve a larger number of patients, which means longer hours and less one-on-one time with patients. Also, most physicians serving in the rural areas report longer hours of work, more call and less quality time away. “From a professional point of view, unfavorable working conditions, professional isolation and the lack of continuous medical education opportunities deter many health care providers.” 1
Another set of issues for the providers considering practicing in rural and underserved areas are their spouses’ job options and education systems for their children.4 Job options for spouses in rural areas tend to be very limited, and the education available for children is often not up to par with urban and suburban areas. Social isolation is also a factor for these families moving to rural areas. Physicians that practice in rural areas tend to report lower quality of life overall.
How to Improve the Maldistribution of Physicians in Underserved Rural Areas
Medical schools need to increase the number of students being accepted from rural areas. These graduating physicians tend to go back practicing back in the rural community.