Mayo, University of Louisville School of Medicine researchers present intervention recommendations, including technology adoption for care, data collection
ANN ARBOR, Mich., May 24, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Rural residents face immense challenges to accessing health care services for chronic health conditions such as diabetes and cancer, which are associated with higher rates of disease-attributable deaths. Authors from the Mayo Clinic and the University of Louisville School of Medicine in Kentucky have just published a paper in Annals of Family Medicine that aggregates findings from 62 different studies to find commonalities in the health care experiences of patients with chronic conditions in U.S. rural settings.
First author Elizabeth H. Golembiewski, PhD, M.P.H., of the Knowledge and Evaluation Research Unit at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and her co-authors reviewed studies involving 1,354 unique participants. The greatest proportion of studies (24.2%) was focused on the experience of patients with cancer, followed by behavioral health (16.1%); HIV (14.5%); and diabetes (12.9%).
Diabetes and cancer, as well as other chronic conditions, are more prevalent in rural communities compared to urban and suburban areas. The researchers found that important cultural, structural and individual factors influence the rural patient experience of health care access and utilization, including:
- Financial, time and physical costs associated with travel
- Concerns with overburdening their support systems with frequent transportation requests
- Frustration with lack of continuity due to frequent clinical rotations
- Perceptions that local care is suboptimal
- Culturally-enforced stigmas against seeking care
Golembiewski et al believe their findings can inform policies and programs that may improve access to care through culturally-appropriate interventions.
“Improving access to health care in rural communities is a national imperative,” the authors assert, adding that future research should explore the role of telehealth and other remote technologies to address patient access challenges and to collect patient care data.
Elizabeth H. Golembiewski, Derek L. Gravholt, Victor D. Torres Roldan, Eddy P. Lincango Naranjo, Sebastian Vallejo, Andrea Garcia Bautista, Christina M. LaVecchia, Christi A. Patten, Summer V. Allen, Soumya Jaladi and Kasey R. Boehmer
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SOURCE Annals of Family Medicine