Geographic Disparities In Healthcare

July 26, 2023

As reviewed in a recent JAMA article, the United States has the highest level of rural versus urban healthcare disparity among developed countries.  

Historically, there have been many reasons for this.  Teaching hospitals tend to be located in larger cities.  Their doctors and patients benefit from substantial case volumes, affiliated medical schools, research budgets, and fellowship programs.  These factors help support more data-driven standards of care, in turn leading to better outcomes.  However, as pointed out in the JAMA article, patients in rural settings enjoy advantages over their urban counterparts.  For example, they often have healthier lifestyles, and are more likely to have regular primary care physicians.  

Thus, clinicians in different geographic settings have much to learn from each other. They and their patients will benefit from meaningful and continued collaboration.  Circles are designed to foster this collaboration in a number of ways.  For example:

  • Musculoskeletal practitioners can easily work together across institutional and regional boundaries to develop and share clinical best practices in the use of orthobiologics for specific indications and patient cohorts.
  • Physical therapists can develop and publish standards of rehabilitative care on the basis of large “n” datasets for specific injuries and post-surgical support.
  • Podiatrists can share with their patients regular post-intervention reports presenting individualized evidence-based progress against pre-clinical benchmarks, as well as against comparable patient populations across the country.
  • Clinicians who completed residencies or fellowships in large academic centers, but are now in small practices, can continue to share learnings with former mentors in the context of jointly executed pragmatic studies.

Circles are product-agnostic, built by clinicians for clinicians, minimally burdensome, and low cost.  However clinicians collaborate, it is clear that doing so in a sustained and thoughtful manner is greatly to the benefit of their professional learning, and will drive better outcomes for patients in all regions of the country.

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