Note on Primary care access
Improving access is all about getting supply and demand in equilibrium, which means that there is no backlog of appointments and no delay between when the demand is initiated and when the service is delivered. The gap between supply and demand not only contributes to a delay in meeting patients’ needs, but it can also be expensive and generate waste in the system.
To ease the access to primary care, hospitals can work on the following
1) Team up with Independent Transportation Network:
For seniors, not comfortable driving or who can no longer drive, and ITN assist can be a lifeline. Residents, where ITN operates, can schedule trips 24 hours a day. Drivers even come to the door to help the passenger into and out of the car.
2. Use Mobile Clinics to Go to the Patient.
Mobile clinics include clinics that provide primary care services, preventive care services, or dental care services from a van, truck, or bus equipped with all of the necessary technology to provide clinical services in underserved areas, both rural and urban.
3. Partner with or Co-host Pop-up Clinics.
These pop-up clinics rely on volunteer clinicians to provide care, ranging from preventive screenings to condition-specific treatment, to a high volume of patients in a short time-span for little-to-no cost. These pop-up clinics are making a difference in the lives of those that remain uninsured by providing them with quality health care and connecting them to services that will help them to better manage their health care in the future.
4. Team up with Retail Clinics.
For minor health needs, a visit to the emergency room is usually not the right door; it’s expensive and can take hours. The rapid spread of walk-in clinics in retail stores is providing one alternative.
5. Take care directly to target populations with Co-located Clinics.
Similar to student-run clinics, co-located clinics remove the barriers to accessing health care services by taking care providers directly to needy populations. In fact, some student-run clinics are also co-located clinics that are located in homeless shelters or schools in low-income areas.