Walmart and Medscape released the Healthcare Professionals’ Perspectives on Healthcare in Rural America report. With more than 10,000 HCPs sharing their perspectives, the survey is the first and largest study to assess barriers and solutions to care delivery from the perspective of those on the front lines of healthcare in rural and non-rural communities.
More than 10,000 primary care Health Care Professionals (HCPs) shared their perspectives; key findings include:
- Rural primary care health care professionals ranked quality as a greater concern than access to care in their communities, particularly for chronic care and mental health.
- Rural health care professionals are utilizing telehealth already. It is not a new tool and is integrated into the care they currently provide. They also use electronic medical records equally to non-rural HCPs and consider it important for quality care delivery. Notably, they do not view newer technologies, such as remote patient monitoring and personal health technologies as solutions that would improve quality of care, In fact, fewer than two in five rural clinicians are optimistic that these tools will improve care quality. Non-rural HCPs also do not see remote monitoring and personal tech as offerings that will improve quality of care.
- Rural health care professionals highlighted more staff for team-based care, better community support systems and patient financial assistance as the top three factors that would improve the quality of care they provide.
- They cited building on what they already utilize as opportunities: better or upgraded medical equipment, faster and more reliable internet service and expanding use of electronic health records as technologies and behaviors that would improve quality of care.
Rural HCPs’ focus on quality is notable, as access is typically considered the biggest barrier for rural healthcare, with an estimated 60 million people living in Rural America. The report’s findings underscore that efforts to address rural health challenges requires receiving input from the HCPs in these communities and that focusing on newer technologies over the past several years has not been perceived to have had a substantive impact on closing the quality healthcare gaps in rural communities.
Report: Healthcare Professionals’ Perspectives on Healthcare in Rural America. Walmart & Medscape. June 2022