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Healthcare providers’ perceptions of potentially preventable rural hospitalisations: a qualitative study


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Ridge, A, Peterson, GM ORCID: 0000-0002-6764-3882, Seidel, BM, Anderson, V and Nash, R ORCID: 0000-0003-3695-0887 2021 , 'Healthcare providers’ perceptions of potentially preventable rural hospitalisations: a qualitative study' , International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 18, no. 23 , pp. 1-14 , doi: 10.3390/ijerph182312767.

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Potentially preventable hospitalisations (PPHs) are common in rural communities in Australia and around the world. Healthcare providers have a perspective on PPHs that may not be accessible by analysing routine patient data. This study explores the factors that healthcare providers believe cause PPHs and seeks to identify strategies for preventing them. Physicians, nurses, paramedics, and health administrators with experience in managing rural patients with PPHs were recruited from southern Tasmania, Australia. Semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted, and reflexive thematic analysis was used to analyse the data. Participants linked health literacy, limited access to primary care, and perceptions of primary care services with PPH risk. The belief that patients did not have a good understanding of where, when, and how to manage their health was perceived to be linked to patient-specific health literacy challenges. Access to primary healthcare was impacted by appointment availability, transport, and financial constraints. In contrast, it was felt that the prompt, comprehensive, and free healthcare delivered in hospitals appealed to patients and influenced their decision to bypass rural primary healthcare services. Strategies to reduce PPHs in rural Australian communities may include promoting health literacy, optimising the delivery of existing services, and improving social support structures.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Ridge, A and Peterson, GM and Seidel, BM and Anderson, V and Nash, R
Keywords: rural, primary care, preventable hospitalisation, avoidable, health literacy, access
Journal or Publication Title: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Publisher: MDPIAG
ISSN: 1660-4601
DOI / ID Number: 10.3390/ijerph182312767
Copyright Information:

© 2021. The Authors. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License ( The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

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