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Barriers Families Face when Accessing Healthcare

Last updated: March 12, 2020


Contributed by:
Richard Honaker M.D.
Primary Care Physician
View Full Profile

The future of healthcare could put a doctor in your pocket. 

 

Gone are the days of spending hours in germ-filled waiting rooms waiting for the advice from a doctor. Now patients are able to take advantage of the convenience of having a doctor ‘on call’ from an app on their phone. 

 

Your Doctors Online provides virtual appointments  where patients are able to avoid the waiting room and get trusted medical advice 24 hours a day from the comforts of home. 

 

 

 

 

Making healthcare accessible and affordable is an important priority in 2020. 

 

Regular healthcare visits prevents and manages disease, reduces unneccesary disability and premature death. Yet many families in Canada, the US and Great Britian are still unable to access regular healthcare.  

 

So what factors are preventing families from accessing a physician in these developed nations? Lets took a closer look at the barriers families face when accessing healthcare. 

 

Cost 

 

Cost is a barrier to healthcare for children

Image courtesy of Canva

Cost is still a factor for many in accessing healthcare. In 2017, 29.3 million people, or 9.1 percent of the U.S. population, were uninsured, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control. These numbers have improved from the 48.6 million people, or 16 percent of the population, without health insurance when the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, but there are many still without coverage.

In Countries with universal health care coverage many parents still face hidden additional costs to accessing health care. Taking time off from work to see a doctor is both costly and can be met with scrutiny from employers. 

Your Doctors Online surveyed parents in  the US, Canada and Great Britian. Over one third of respondents said it was too expensive to miss work to see a doctor. An additional 43% said it was too difficult to get the time off from work in order to see a healthcare professional.

 

Read next: 5 Tips to Avoid Back to School Germs from a Doctor

 

Lack of Availability of Services

lack of availability is a barrier to healthcare that families face

Image courtesy of Canva

Despite free access to health services, many Canadians health concerns are unable to be met in a timely manner. In fact, Canadians wait longer than many of their international counterparts to access medical services. According to the 2016 Commonweath Fund Survey, less than half (43 per cent) of Canadians could get a same- or next-day appointment with their family doctors or at their regular place of care the last time they needed medical attention.

 

Your Doctors Online found that more than half of the survey respondents (54.9%) reported they were unable to get medical appointments and over 20% were without a family doctor. 

 

Inconvenience

lack of availaility is a barrier families face in accessing healthcare

Image courtesy of Canva

Many people without a family doctor or unable to get a timely appointment find themselves in walk-in clinics or the emergency room. At the ER wait times are determined by the volume of patients needing care at any given time and also by the urgency of your symptoms. In Ontario, the average wait time to see a doctor at the emergency room is 1.6 hours. For low urgency cases, the average time spent at the hospital was 2.7 hours. 

 

Walk in clinic wait times can vary based on time of visit, location and time of year. One thing that is certain is the waiting room is full of germs. While many visit the doctor’s office for routine screenings or check-ups, the walk-in clinic is often reserved for those who are currently ill. One sneeze or cough can leave germs in the air for up to 45 minutes.  There is usually more than one person presenting these symptoms. 

 

Your Doctors Online found that 37% of parents have gotten sick or had another family member get sick after visiting the doctor’s office. 

 

Read next: Doctors warn searching your symptoms is a dangerous trend

 

A New Approach to Healthcare

best online doctor

One of the proposed solutions by many is to increase virtual healthcare. Your Doctors Online is an app that allows families around the world to put a doctor in their pocket. 

 

The app allows you to carry a virtual copy of your essentail healthcare information. This includes medical insurance, health history and vaccination records. You can also connect  with a real doctor 24 hours a day for a virtual visit. 

 

“By providing a virtual visit with a healthcare provider we are hoping to remove many of the barriers families face in accessing quality medical care.” Says Your Doctors Online Medical Advisor Dr. Asim Cheema who practices at St. Mikes in Toronto. 

 

“We believe in the importance of quality and affordable healthcare services for everyone. Regardless of where they reside,” says co-Founder Raihan Masroor. “With Your Doctors Online we can put a doctor in the pockets of today’s families.” 

 

Disclaimer: This article provides general information and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or medical condition. If you require specific advice, please consult one of our medical professionals through the app. However, in case of an emergency, please call 911.

About Richard Honaker M.D.

Dr. Richard Honaker has over 40 years of experience as a primary care physician specializing in several different areas of medicine. He is able to provide expert case review and analysis for insurance and workers compensation cases as well as providing online medical consultations as the Chief Medical Advisor for Your Doctors Online.


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