Article

A Re-conceptualization of Access for 21st Century Healthcare

Health Services Research and Development (HSR&D), Center for Mental Health and Outcomes Research, Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, 2200 Fort Roots Drive, North Little Rock, AR 72114, USA.
Journal of General Internal Medicine (Impact Factor: 3.42). 11/2011; 26 Suppl 2(Suppl 2):639-47. DOI: 10.1007/s11606-011-1806-6
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Many e-health technologies are available to promote virtual patient-provider communication outside the context of face-to-face clinical encounters. Current digital communication modalities include cell phones, smartphones, interactive voice response, text messages, e-mails, clinic-based interactive video, home-based web-cams, mobile smartphone two-way cameras, personal monitoring devices, kiosks, dashboards, personal health records, web-based portals, social networking sites, secure chat rooms, and on-line forums. Improvements in digital access could drastically diminish the geographical, temporal, and cultural access problems faced by many patients. Conversely, a growing digital divide could create greater access disparities for some populations. As the paradigm of healthcare delivery evolves towards greater reliance on non-encounter-based digital communications between patients and their care teams, it is critical that our theoretical conceptualization of access undergoes a concurrent paradigm shift to make it more relevant for the digital age. The traditional conceptualizations and indicators of access are not well adapted to measure access to health services that are delivered digitally outside the context of face-to-face encounters with providers. This paper provides an overview of digital "encounterless" utilization, discusses the weaknesses of traditional conceptual frameworks of access, presents a new access framework, provides recommendations for how to measure access in the new framework, and discusses future directions for research on access.

Download full-text

Full-text

Available from: James F Burgess, Jul 27, 2015
0 Followers
 · 
149 Views
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A pilot study was done to address the efficacy of a General Packet Radio Service mobile phone-based telemedicine system used to improve follow-up after ambulatory surgery. The method involves sending images of surgical wounds or other areas from the patient's home, to assess local complications and avoid unnecessary hospital visits. Ninety-six (N = 96) patients were enrolled in the study. The phone used was a Nokia 6600, which provides images in Joint Photographic Experts Group format. These images were sent via e-mail and visualized on a standard 17-inch screen of a personal computer. After the follow-up period, self-reported patient satisfaction was assessed by analyzing the replies to a 9-item questionnaire. Thirty of the 96 patients (31.3%) reported local problems including: hematoma in 20 (66.7%) patients, surgical bandage blood-stained in 7 (23.3%), exudates in 1 (3.3%), allergic skin reactions in 1 (3.3%), and bandage too tight in 1 (3.3%). In total, 225 photographs were evaluated by 3 physicians. In all cases, it was possible to identify and assess the postoperative problem with consensus among the 3 physicians. Images served to resolve patients' concerns in 20 individuals (66.7%). In 10 patients (33.3%), concerns were satisfied but it was suggested that follow-up images be sent in the following days. Only 1 patient (3.3%) was asked to visit the hospital. The telemedicine system proposed increases the efficiency of home follow-up to ambulatory surgery, avoids unnecessary hospital visits, and clearly improves patient satisfaction.
    Telemedicine and e-Health 07/2009; 15(6):531-7. DOI:10.1089/tmj.2009.0003 · 1.54 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: National health reform is expected to increase how long individuals have to wait between requests for appointments and when their appointment is scheduled. The increase in demand for care due to more widespread insurance will result in longer waits if there is not also a concomitant increase in supply of healthcare services. Long waits for healthcare are hypothesized to compromise health because less frequent outpatient visits result in delays in diagnosis and treatment. Research testing this hypothesis is scarce due to a paucity of data on how long individuals wait for healthcare in the United States. The main exception is the Veterans Health Administration (VA) that has been routinely collecting data on how long veterans wait for outpatient care for over a decade. This narrative review summarizes the results of studies using VA wait time data to answer two main questions: 1) How much do longer wait times decrease healthcare utilization and 2) Do longer wait times cause poorer health outcomes? Longer VA wait times lead to small, yet statistically significant decreases in utilization and are related to poorer health in elderly and vulnerable veteran populations. Both long-term outcomes (e.g. mortality, preventable hospitalizations) and intermediate outcomes such as hemoglobin A1C levels are worse for veterans who seek care at facilities with longer waits compared to veterans who visit facilities with shorter waits. Further research is needed on the mechanisms connecting longer wait times and poorer outcomes including identifying patient sub-populations whose risks are most sensitive to delayed access to care. If wait times increase for the general patient population with the implementation of national reform as expected, U.S. healthcare policymakers and clinicians will need to consider policies and interventions that minimize potential harms for all patients.
    Journal of General Internal Medicine 11/2011; 26 Suppl 2:676-82. DOI:10.1007/s11606-011-1819-1 · 3.42 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: To determine if the combined effects of patient-level (demographic and clinical characteristics) and organizational-level (structure and strategies to improve access) factors are uniformly associated with utilization of Indian Health Service (IHS) and/or Veterans Health Administration (VHA) by American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) Veterans to inform policy which promotes dual use. We estimated correlates and compared two separate multilevel logistic regression models of VHA-IHS dual versus IHS-only and VHA-IHS dual versus VHA-only in a sample of 18,892 AIAN Veterans receiving care at 201 VHA and IHS facilities during FY02 and FY03. Demographic, diagnostic, eligibility, and utilization data were drawn from administrative records. A survey of VHA and IHS facilities defined availability of services and strategies to enhance access to healthcare for AIAN Veterans. Facility level strategies that are generally associated with enhancing access to healthcare (e.g., population-based services and programs, transportation or co-location) were not significant factors associated with dual use. In both models the common variable of dual use was related to medical need, defined as the number of diagnoses per patient. Other significant demographic, medical need and organizational factors operated in opposing manners. For instance, age increased the likelihood of dual use versus IHS-only but decreased the likelihood of dual use versus VHA-only. Efforts to enhance access through population-based and consumer-driven strategies may add value but be less important to utilization than availability of healthcare resources needed by this population. Sharing health records and co-management strategies would improve quality of care while policies allow and promote dual use.
    Journal of General Internal Medicine 11/2011; 26 Suppl 2(S2):662-8. DOI:10.1007/s11606-011-1834-2 · 3.42 Impact Factor
Show more