Barriers to Health Access
Many factors contribute to barriers in the healthcare system. These factors are cost, lack of insurance, and long waiting times. Cultural and linguistic differences also make it difficult for people to communicate with healthcare providers. Additionally, some people may live in rural areas with limited access to healthcare facilities. The United States needs to address these barriers to achieve its goal of universal healthcare.
Influence of Physical Geography
People living in rural areas might have to travel many miles to access medical care. Rural areas have a shortage of healthcare providers. Chronically ill patients experience great difficulty due to the absence of public transport options. In addition, rural areas often lack healthcare providers (Huot et al., 2019). The small size of these communities limits the number of healthcare professionals. Limited transportation options cause emotional and financial stress to the patients and their families.
Limited access to healthcare services is a significant problem in urban areas. Huge populations complicate health insurance. Poor sanitation, air pollution, and waste mismanagement hinder healthcare services. Individuals face discriminatory treatment based on their insurance status (Loftus et al., 2017). Such discrimination excludes a large population from quality healthcare services.
Culture and Language Barrier
The United States is a multiethnic country. Each community has its language and distinct culture. Indigenous populations face challenges in communicating their health needs to healthcare providers. Language differences hamper the dissemination of healthcare information. Cultural differences decrease the trust and willingness of communities to articulate their symptoms. This misunderstanding may lead to discrimination in access to healthcare services.
Healthcare Provider-Related Barriers
Healthcare providers face many barriers that limit proper healthcare for their patients. Lack of access to insurance coverage, high personal costs, and poor transportation hinder convenient healthcare services. Different areas face provider shortages due to retirements and turnovers. Increased workload for healthcare workers restrains their service delivery due to inadequate rest time. Slow and poor recruitment further exacerbates this situation. The resulting condition is an overworked sector that struggles with burnout and stress.
Inadequate skills in tackling health conditions are a significant barrier. Dynamics in the healthcare sector provide challenges requiring new skills and knowledge. Good communication skills, for instance, can reduce medical errors and injury (Tiwary et al., 2019). Insufficient opportunities to gather new skills and develop acquired ones is a significant barrier to healthcare services.
Systematic Factors Barriers
Poor coordination is a barrier to healthcare services. Poor communication in medical care facilities reduces the quality of healthcare services. Patients suffer due to disorganized medical services. Inadequate funding for healthcare facilities is also a big challenge. People experience inequitable access to medical care services due to insufficient funds. Such areas experience high mortality rates.
Many people experience financial distress due to the cost of medical care. Medical insurance policies are expensive and out of reach for ordinary people. There is a positive relationship between health insurance and health outcomes (US), 2022). Out-of-pocket costs deny people medical care as it is financially unsustainable. Patients lack knowledge about the costs of medical care and treatment. The resulting knowledge gap provides difficulty in accessing patient information. Discomfort in estimating medical costs creates a barrier to healthcare access.
Social Stigma Barriers
People with chronic illness or mental health conditions may feel isolated due to social stigma. These people may suffer in silence for fear of segregation. Feelings of shame and guilt make it difficult for medical providers to treat them. Fear of rejection and unfounded discrimination makes them avoid healthcare centers. Knowledge and data gap for social stigma victims creates a medical barrier.
Transportation is an essential step for medical care access. Transport barriers delay appointments, delay medication use, and lead to missed meetings. Patients with chronic illnesses, for example, need frequent visits to hospitals. Inadequate healthcare services are tragic to diabetic patients and others with acute conditions. Governments must improve transport infrastructure and facilities to mitigate the effects of transport barriers on healthcare access.
Patients experience long waits in healthcare facilities. Poor communication, inadequate staff, and lengthy procedures cause these situations. Incompetency of healthcare workers creates long queues that discourage patients. Exhaustion incurred during hospital visits cause slow recovery rates. The long delays may also exacerbate the conditions of patients requiring emergency services. The time factor is a significant barrier to healthcare access.
Healthcare is essential for the well-being of man. People face barriers that limit their access to medical care services. Transport, social stigma, cost, and systematic factors are the barriers to healthcare. The government of the United States should limit these components to achieve universal healthcare for all.
Huot, S., Ho, H., Ko, A., Lam, S., Tactay, P., MacLachlan, J., & Raanaas, R. K. (2019). Identifying barriers to healthcare delivery and access in the Circumpolar North: essential insights for health professionals. International Journal of Circumpolar Health, 78(1), 1571385. https://doi.org/10.1080/22423982.2019.1571385
Loftus, J., Allen, E. M., Call, K. T., & Everson-Rose, S. A. (2017). Rural-Urban Differences in Access to Preventive Health Care Among Publicly Insured Minnesotans. The Journal of Rural Health, 34, s48–s55. https://doi.org/10.1111/jrh.12235
Tiwary, A., Rimal, A., Paudyal, B., Sigdel, K. R., & Basnyat, B. (2019). Poor communication by health care professionals may lead to life-threatening complications: examples from two case reports. Wellcome Open Research, 4, 7. https://doi.org/10.12688/wellcomeopenres.15042.1
US), M. (2022). Effects of Health Insurance on Health. Nih.gov; National Academies Press (US). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK220636/