Access to quality healthcare is one of the most impactful social determinants of health for the public. The ability to access adequate healthcare can profoundly impact a person’s overall health, with inadequate access possibly resulting in higher morbidity and mortality rates.
Here are some barriers to healthcare that many individuals face and how at-home healthcare solutions make quality care more accessible.
Barriers to equitable healthcare access
Even individuals with access to healthcare providers can face transportation barriers that prevent them from getting the care they need. Approximately 3.6 million Americans do not receive medical care annually due to transportation issues . Common transportation-related barriers include long-distance travel, lack of a vehicle, costs, insufficient public transportation, and inadequate infrastructure. These transportation issues can impact a person’s access to healthcare services, resulting in missed or delayed healthcare appointments, increased health expenditures, and poorer health outcomes.
According to the US Census Bureau, about one in five Americans, or 60 million people, live in rural communities . Rural areas are sparsely populated, with low housing density and far distances from urban centers. Those living in rural areas are more likely to travel long distances to access healthcare services. This can add to travel time, cost, and time away from the workplace. Physician shortages, chronic poverty, a lack of insurance, and long wait times and travel distances also contribute to major discrepancies in healthcare access between urban and rural America. And as a result, rural residents are also more likely to receive lower-quality healthcare and have worse outcomes on several scores than urban and suburban dwellers .
Low income and lack of insurance
The United States has one of the world's highest healthcare costs. Additionally, nearly 30 million Americans lack health insurance . Financial need and insufficient coverage to pay medical bills can lead people to skip necessary healthcare. When patients cannot afford medical care or have to choose between medical care and paying for other utilities, they often go without healthcare access. The CDC has reported that 6.1% of adults aged 18 and over failed to obtain needed medical care due to cost .
Discrimination based on group status, such as gender, immigration generation, race/ethnicity, or religion, is a well-documented health challenge. Discrimination in a healthcare setting can be defined as negative actions or lack of consideration given to an individual or group due to a preconceived and unjustified opinion. Individuals who have previously experienced discrimination may be more reluctant to seek health care, as they may perceive it as a setting of increased risk for discrimination. According to a survey by LetsGetChecked, 64% of respondents feel that they or their ailments are dismissed by doctors, and 59% of respondents disagree that most care specialists create an environment that feels safe and comfortable .
How LetsGetChecked can improve healthcare access and quality
Delaying or forgoing medical care due to a lack of access can be devastating to patient health and ultimately lead to higher costs. Finding ways to make affordable and quality care accessible in a timely fashion is critical—LetsGetChecked partners with employers, public sector organizations, health plans, and providers to do just that. Our solutions meet people where they are to mitigate prohibitive factors associated with socioeconomic status, geography, transportation, and discrimination.