Healthcare utilization in rural areas is affected by multiple factors and as a result, it is paramount to seek ways to enhance inclusivity. Given that the growth and sustainability of organizations and sectors are largely dependent on the leadership process, it is paramount to understand the role healthcare leaders play in addressing the accessibility of health care services among the rural populace.
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According to Max’s Theory of Social Change, healthcare leaders must make decisions that ensure that healthcare services are available for all persons. A review of the literature indicates that healthcare leaders have significant roles to play through the establishment of partnerships and collaborations that seek to promote accessibility of care among the rural communities. The leaders also determine the distribution of resources and while also making strategic decisions that enhance the accessibility of care.
The utilization of healthcare services among individuals in rural communities is determined by various factors beyond the availability of services. It is, therefore, paramount for existing healthcare systems to ensure that there is inclusivity in the health plans that are established.
The research topic is “The Role of Healthcare Leadership in Ensuring Access to Care among Rural Communities.” The growth and sustainability of any industry require that the individuals who are tasked with the role of leadership should strategically execute their mandate to ensure sustainability while at the same time addressing the challenges that affect the vulnerable groups. Healthcare leaders are tasked with the role of distributing the existing resources among the existing health care interventions and to allocate adequate resources to ensure that there is continued research that guarantees new interventions will continue to be developed.
Most of the individuals from the rural areas mainly belong to the lower-income groups and thus, a failure to ensure that adequate resources are allocated for the provision of rural health services leads to reduced access to care and consequently increased disease burden. Other than these challenges, the rural communities would experience reduced income because of reduced working hours. Thus, healthcare leaders have a responsibility to ensure that individuals in rural areas have access to adequate healthcare by taking deliberate measures to sustain and develop new services.
The research will employ an inductive methodology where the researcher will make detailed observations and later use the findings from these observations to develop theories about the role of healthcare leaders in ensuring increased access to care among the individuals in the rural communities. The inductive methodology is effective as it will allow the researcher to explore the issues to establish the correlation and connectivity of the issue to life events of the individuals who belong to the rural communities.
The research will also employ a quantitative design to facilitate the researcher to identify the patterns that emerge from the observational process. The use of the quantitative research design will enable the researcher to employ statistical methods to analyze the issues involved and hence yield results that are reliable and generally replicable among the rural population.
The research topic is “The Role of Healthcare Leadership in Ensuring Access to Care among Rural Communities.”
Summary of Scholarly Discussion
The existing literature indicates that local health departments have a significant role to play in addressing the issues of accessibility to care among individuals from rural communities. These local health leaders are tasked with establishing innovative solutions that are tailored to the current issues that hinder the rural communities from accessing services such as immunization, maternal and child health as well as mental health services.
Healthcare leaders are also able to make issues related to finances and hence they can determine the allocation of resources towards activities related to access to healthcare among the rural communities. The leadership has an impact on how the health care system addresses the development of policy and training among healthcare workers hence determining capacity building which is critical to ensuring that there is adequate staff to provide services across the board.
The utilization of healthcare services among individuals in rural communities is determined by various factors beyond the availability of services. It is therefore paramount for existing healthcare systems to ensure that there is inclusivity in the health plans that are established.
The literature outlines various areas through which the leadership in healthcare can determine the access of healthcare among the rural communities as outlined under Max’s Theory of Social Change where health care disparities can be addressed through making decisions that have a positive impact on the society at large. For example, the leaders have an opportunity to expand the ongoing public health opportunities (Brownson, Allen, Duggan, Stamatakis, & Erwin, 2012).
By increasing public health programs, there is a likelihood that the health of the rural communities will be increased as most of the operations that seek to address discrepancies to access the health care rely on public health initiatives. Through the expanded public health programs, the leadership in healthcare will also be able to access more data which is useful in reforming the existing policies and facilitating the development of measures to increase the access to care among the rural population (Brownson et al., 2012).
The approaches to leadership in healthcare have a bearing on the accessibility of care among the rural population. For example, the adoption of a decentralized approach to health care is critical in ensuring that there is increased accountability in the rural facilities, hence promoting better utilization of resources (Bucagu et al., 2012). Therefore, according to the literature, leadership in healthcare has an impact on the responsiveness and effectiveness of the health system and hence determines the utilization of resources alongside expanding the existing services.
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The leadership approach adopted within the healthcare system also determines the ease with which the new interventions are implemented and hence ensuring that emerging disparities regarding healthcare access are addressed urgently (Bucagu et al., 2012). According to Max’s theory, it is paramount that all the political issues are dealt with to ensure that the healthcare system works in harmony as a failure to adopt a strategic approach to the issue could lead to slow adoption of measures and policies meant to address the rural disparities in healthcare.
The leaders in healthcare are tasked with the role of impacting the delivery of services (Bekemeier, Grembowski, Yang, & Herting, 2012). The leaders are responsible for the daily running of operations in healthcare based on the existing policies and hence the decisions they make tend to affect the issues such as accessibility of care. For example, leaders are responsible for determining the conduct and characteristics of their workforce.
The leaders also determine the deployment of healthcare workers in various institutions that provide care to rural communities. Therefore, the strategic decisions that the workers providing health care services for the rural population tend to make can be traced back to the leadership that strategically positions them to work in rural areas. For example, a healthcare leader who decides to deploy a community health nurse in an area where the nurse manages chronic diseases among the rural communities after discovering that the nurse is passionate about the issues is indirectly contributing positively towards the health of the rural population (Popescu & Predescu, 2016).
Thus, given the central role that healthcare leaders play in setting the tone among healthcare organizations, they have a role to play in determining access to care among the rural population.
The leadership in healthcare is also tasked with the role of establishing partnership and cooperation between the various organizations that are mandated to provide various services (Teutsch & Fielding, 2013). Most of the cooperative engagements are either based on the provision of resources, skills development, or capacity building to ensure that the delivery of services is further enhanced. In other situations, the organizations that seek to cooperate in the delivery of care could decide to use more than one form of engagement such as where more resources are availed while at the same time contributing towards skills building to enhance the impact of the cooperation (Clarke et al., 2013).
The healthcare leaders, in this case, are the responsibility in determining the areas where cooperation will receive a priority and the form of engagement that will be adopted in the long run. As a result, the leaders will have a direct impact on the cooperation that is established. Thus, the leaders must establish the necessary partnerships that will help to address the issues of accessibility of care among the rural population.
Healthcare leaders have a fundamental role to play in ensuring that there is accessible health care for individuals within rural communities. Based on Max’s Theory of Social Change, it is a prerequisite that the leaders within the healthcare sector should make decisions that are likely to contribute positively towards the wellness of the rural community at large. Some of the crucial areas through which the healthcare leaders can influence accessibility in the rural areas include establishing appropriate allocation of resources for the different interventions.
The leaders should also work towards increasing and expanding the existing programs that address disparities in health care as this part of their mandate in the management of healthcare. The leadership in healthcare is also tasked with the responsibility to ensure that they establish prerequisite partnerships with the other stakeholders that seek to further the agenda of increasing accessibility of care among the rural population.
Healthcare leaders also have a responsibility to impact the accessibility of care for the rural persons through the strategic decisions that they make within the sector including the hiring and deployment of staff. The healthcare leadership also influences the accessibility of healthcare among the rural populace in an indirect manner such as ensuring that there is continued capacity building through training of healthcare providers.
Bekemeier, B., Grembowski, D., Yang, Y., & Herting, J. R. (2012). Leadership matters: Local health department clinician leaders and their relationship to decreasing health disparities. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, 18(2), E1-E10. Web.
The paper seeks to evaluate the role of leadership in healthcare in addressing the disparities that exist within the system. The paper is relevant to the research as it evaluates the issues the local healthcare leaders can address at their level to determine the success of healthcare programs including those addressing the healthcare disparities. The article is also relevant as it provides the impact of the healthcare leadership interventions on reducing the increased disease burden and access to reliable healthcare services among the rural populace.
Brownson, R. C., Allen, P., Duggan, K., Stamatakis, K. A., & Erwin, P. C. (2012). Fostering more-effective public health by identifying administrative evidence-based practices: A review of the literature. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 43(3), 309–319. Web.
The article provides a review of public health from the administrative perspective. The paper is relevant to the research as it provides an understanding about the roles that public health leaders play to enhance the delivery of services. The paper point out the general discussions in the literature with regard to leadership’s impact on areas such as accessibility to care.
Bucagu, M., Kagubare, J., Basinga, P., Ngabo, F., Timmons, B. K., & Lee, A. C. (2012). Impact of health systems strengthening on coverage of antenatal and delivery services in Rwanda, 2000-2010: A systematic review. Reproductive Health Matters, 20(39), 50-61.
The paper provides insights regarding how deliberate actions by healthcare leaders to strengthen health systems leads to increased accessibility. The paper is relevant to the research as it provides practical examples using the Rwandan case to demonstrate the actions that the leaders can take to increase accessibility of care among the rural populace.
Clarke, A. R., Goddu, A. P., Nocon, R. S., Stock, N. W., Chyr, L. C., Akuoko, J. A. S., & Chin, M. H. (2013). Thirty years of disparities intervention research: What are we doing to close racial and ethnic gaps in health care? Medical Care, 51(11). Web.
The paper seeks to provide a review of the factors that cause the disparities in healthcare. The paper is relevant to the study as it addresses the issue of healthcare management and leadership as one of the factors that determine the disparities in healthcare which could include the lack of strategies to address accessibility of care among the rural communities.
Popescu, G. H., & Predescu, V. (2016). The role of leadership in public health. American Journal of Medical Research, 3(1), 273-273.
The paper discusses the role of leadership in the healthcare setting. The paper is relevant to the current research as it addresses leadership functions and the competencies that are acquired by the healthcare leaders especially in the public healthcare field. The article is also significant as it facilitates the evaluation of the different roles of healthcare leaders and how they impact aspects such as accessibility to care.
Teutsch, S. M., & Fielding, J. E. (2013). Rediscovering the core of public health. Annual Review of Public Health, 34, 287-299. Web.
The paper identifies the core roles that are played by the healthcare leaders regarding the identification and development of strategy to address healthcare issues. The paper is relevant to the research as it is based on the premise that healthcare requires social, cultural and physical disputes. The paper is also relevant as it seeks a wider approach to addressing the issue of disparities in healthcare as opposed to adopting a narrowed focus in the research article.