ROSEMONT, Ill., May 11, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Patients living in rural areas are more likely to be older, overweight
While America's rural population is aging faster than its urban population, only 30 percent of rural hospitals have a full-time orthopaedic surgeon. As a result, patients often must travel long distances for orthopaedic care, and many patients delay treatment resulting in poorer outcomes and increased costs.
In this study, researchers specifically looked at VCCs in Iowa, an arrangement that involves regular visits by an orthopaedic surgeon to an outreach site, typically a rural hospital located in a community too small to support a full-time specialist. Patients meet with doctors in person, and receive diagnostic services and some outpatient procedures. More complex procedures are usually referred to larger hospitals with the appropriate resources to support major procedures.
Data from 2014 were used to estimate average trip length for participating orthopaedic surgeons and patients in all Iowa census tracts. Primary practice locations, visiting consultant clinic locations, and census tracts were classified according to 2010 Rural-Urban Commuting Areas (RUCA) classifications.
Among the results:
"Orthopaedic surgeons in Iowa have been involved in rural outreach for more than 25 years," said lead study author Thomas S. Gruca, PhD, a professor in the Tippie College of Business, University of Iowa. "By traveling to 80 different sites every month, these physicians from Iowa and surrounding states reduced patient travel times and improved access to orthopaedic care."
About the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) Follow the AAOS on Facebook and Twitter.
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SOURCE American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
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