Context and Healthcare Access: Looking Beyond the Individual

By | June 1, 2005

Access to the health care system depends not only on a personÕs characteristics and choices, but also on the community in which the person lives, according to a study published in the June 2005 issue of Medical Care by David Litaker, M.D., Siran Koroukian, and Center faculty member Thomas E. Love, Ph.D. ÒContext and Healthcare Access: Looking Beyond the IndividualÓ reports on social, economic and health system characteristics of more than 16,000 adult Ohio residents obtained through a 1998 telephone survey. Persisting disparities in health status increase the need for programs that promote equitable access to health care. Even after accounting for social and economic characteristics of individuals, whether someone will have a usual source of health care (about 18% of Ohio adult residents had no such access) is persistently related to the economic characteristics of their home community. Policy changes may be more effective if they look beyond individual characteristics to address economic factors in communities with poor health care access.Context and Healthcare Access: Looking Beyond the Individual, David Litaker, M.D.