If you talk to a healthcare benefits professional, health plan representative or consumer, the word “access” will inevitably enter the conversation. Exactly what is access?
In the opening sentence to an article about consumer satisfaction, Penchansky and Thomas wrote “access is a major concern in health care policy and is one of the most frequently used words in discussions of the health care system.” The authors established five dimensions of access, known as the 5 A’s; affordability, availability, accessibility, accommodation, and acceptability. The A’s can be defined as:
Affordability: is the patient willing and able to pay the provider’s charges? Or if insured, does the patient have the ability to pay the out-of-pocket costs?
Availability: does the provider have the necessary resources, such as personnel and technology, to meet the needs of the patient?
Accessibility: how easily can the patient physically reach the provider’s location? This is the question addressed by network geo access evaluations.
Accommodation: is the provider’s operation organized in ways that meet the preferences of the patient; such as things like hours of operation, telephone/digital communication options, and if the provider is accepting new patients.
Acceptability: is the patient comfortable with the immutable characteristics of the provider, and vice versa? These characteristics include the age, sex, and ethnicity of the provider and of the patient.
It’s easy to see how these 5 A’s of access apply to our current healthcare system. And that is also a bit unfortunate. You see, the article written by Penchansky and Thomas was published in 1981 – and today we continue to wrestle with many of these same issues!
Check out Get What You Need for information on current healthcare access issues including hospital closures!
- Hitting the Headlines: current healthcare news, including recent eyedrops recalls, raccoon-dog Covid-19 origin theory, and Medicaid loss & employer coverage.
- Get What You Need: is your hospital closing, cities with the most doctors, and access to abortion medication.
- Just A Little Innovation: creative approaches to addressing the mental health provider shortage.
- Why We Do What We Do: including my personal favorite, Why We Want to Squeeze Cute, Little Things!
Hitting the Headlines
Get What You Need?
Just A Little Innovation
Why We Do What We Do
Enjoy the weekend!
Suzanne Daniels, Ph.D.
P.O. Box 1416
Birmingham, MI 48012
Office: (248) 792-2187
Email: [email protected]