Sameer Suhail Shares the Top Barriers to Accessible Healthcare

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Sameer Suhail believes patient access to care is the foundation for all patient interactions with the healthcare industry. When a patient cannot reach their clinician, they cannot receive medical care, develop relationships with their providers, or achieve overall patient wellness. Unfortunately, despite this importance, many patients across the country do not have access to health care. Patient care access has many associated challenges, such as appointment availability issues and difficulties getting a ride to the clinician’s office.

Limited Availability

Many healthcare organizations provide standard office hours for patient visits. However, for the working adult or parent, a clinic open between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. is not always beneficial. Sameer Suhail believes patients require convenient office hours to see the doctor outside of work or school. Aside from care quality, one of the primary motivators for patient care site selection is access to convenient care. Patients should be able to access healthcare when and where they need it. Furthermore, some organizations leverage health IT and connected health to enable patients to seek medical advice without visiting the office. Telehealth enables patients to receive medical treatment without being bound to an office schedule that does not meet their needs.

While healthcare is traditionally provided by doctors and hospitals, there has been an emergence of a number of different healthcare providers that offer quick, convenient care outside of office hours. One such provider is the urgent care center, which offers treatment for sudden and acute illnesses and injuries. Another emerging healthcare provider is the retail clinic, which provides basic treatments and assessments for common conditions like colds and flu. While these clinics cannot replace traditional healthcare in all cases, they do provide a valuable resource for patients who need quick access to healthcare but are unable to see their regular doctor due to busy schedules or other commitments. As such, they have become an important part of today’s healthcare landscape, connecting patients to care when they need it most.However, these are only temporary solutions. Organizations that can manipulate their office hours or stagger appointments so that patients can see their clinicians at convenient times will likely see an increase in patient numbers.

Geographic Concerns and Staff Shortage

Patients in rural areas are disproportionately more likely than patients in urban or suburban areas to struggle to reach their clinician. According to Statista, approximately 57 million Americans lived in rural areas as of 2020. These people face many obstacles, ranging from living too far away to not having enough doctors to provide care. Although rural residents face a variety of care access challenges, Sameer Suhail believes they primarily fall into two categories: geographic distance from a healthcare provider and provider shortages.

Transportation Problems

Even if a patient has access to a provider and can schedule an appointment, Sameer Suhail believes transportation issues may prevent them from seeing their clinicians. Patients who are physically unable to drive, face financial barriers, or are otherwise unable to obtain transportation to the clinician’s office frequently go without care.

As the medical transportation landscape expands through both traditional and non-traditional players, opportunities to address other social determinants of health emerge. That’s a significant step forward, given that most health and wellness occurs outside the walls of a hospital or clinic.

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