Improving health is in the best interest of everyone, including non health professionals. Health mangers need to be constantly looking for ways to improve access to health, the quality of the care, and cost containment.
Often the biggest barriers to accessing healthcare are cost and location. Lower income individuals just do not have the resources to have optimal healthcare, or cannot take the time away from employment to deal with health issues. One potential solution to help with these problems could be “telehealth.” Telehealth allows a lower level healthcare practitioner to communicate with a physician or specialists when necessary. Remote rural areas use a Physician Assistant or a Nurse Practitioner on location in remote areas. When procedures call for a physician, an internet or satellite link provides a teleconference with a physician who can prescribe appropriate treatment (Gangon, Duplantie, Fortin & Landry 2006). This could be implemented in lower income urban areas, allowing free clinics to lower costs, and require fewer physicians.
Programs that increase the level of healthcare available to school children could be increased. Small clinics could be incorporated into schools, and provide basic care to the students. Schools are known to be places the diseases are spread. Such a program could slow or stop some transmission. Children also spend more time in school than at home, allowing children to seek care and not be required to miss school, or parents to miss employment. This program would also provide more equal care among different income groups (Allison, et. al, 2007). There could be the potential for the secondary effect of children being educated on health, including nutrition, and sexually transmitted diseases.
A third way to improve access to healthcare is to improve the delivery of public health promotion. With all the bad science in the media the general public is often confused as to which are the correct choices. Educating the public to be better consumers of science would improve general health and lower the need for access to healthcare (Pincus, Esther, DeWalt, & Callahan 1998).
There are weaknesses in the proposed plans to improve access. In the case of telehealth nothing can replace the hands on analysis of a trained physician. Any type of trauma care will still require an airlift to a trauma center for care. Complications such as reactions to medications, or complications of child delivery, would leave the patient in the hands of under trained staff. Such a program would require an infrastructure of physicians willing to teleconference. Second it would require an internet or satellite link that could not be disrupted.
School health clinics run into the barrier of costs to set up. Districts already have trouble meeting expenses, additional physicians, nurses and staff would cause districts to go over budget. A federal program could help fund, but would require federal control over local...