- Gap analysis,
- health service,
- underserved populations
Purpose: To identify specific services and resources to best meet the needs of patients and providers of free medical and pharmacy clinics for underserved, underinsured and indigent patients.
Methods: Access to affordable medical care for the underserved, underinsured, and indigent populations has been a primary focus of controversy among medical professionals for years. Despite teams of healthcare professionals, organizations, and health departments implemented models to care for these populations, there are still limited resources available. A literature search in Pubmed, IPA, CINAHL and Cochrane identified a large gap evaluating a need assessment of free medical clinics. A prospective cross-sectional multi-state three-arm pilot study was conducted from October 2013 to August 2014. Nine clinics in the states of Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana were selected based on interdisciplinary practice foci. Clinics were interviewed telephonically to establish interest in participation. The study had primary, secondary, and tertiary endpoints orderly. These endpoints evaluated the most desired services for each clinic, site perceptions, willingness to collaborate, and timeline for service implementation to enhance patient care. Visits were made to the clinics between April and May 2014. A questionnaire consisting of 12 items was created to assess the following areas: patient population, services for patients, patients and providers perspectives on needs, most needed resources, site willingness for collaboration and desired timeline for service implementation. Interviews were conducted according to the study timeline.
Results: IT personnel (55.6%) was identified as the most common need among the clinics followed by grant assistance (44.4%) as well as administrative personnel (44.4%). Forty four (44.4%) needed assistance with Grant writing and resources. Eight of the nine sites were willing to collaborate, and all sites desired implementation as soon as possible. Many of these needs overlapped between sites.
Conclusion: Evidently IT personnel was a paramount need. There was a strong desire to collaborate, and an urgent desired timeline implementation. Funding to support these efforts is integral for patient care. The results of this need assessment study will be used to fill the literature gap in this area and seek funding opportunities for the services.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/miriam_ansong/8/