Why Getting to the Right Pediatric Cardiac Team Matters
Currently, patients have great difficulties identifying specialists when they are diagnosed with a life-threatening condition.
- More than a third of all patients each year are referred to specialists, yet despite the frequency and importance of specialty referrals, “there are inefficiencies and breakdowns in all components of the specialty-referral process“.
- The specialty referral system is based on access to a Primary Care Provider. However, access to primary care “remains a challenge for 62 million Americans“.
- Medicare, Medicaid and uninsured patients face particular difficulties in identifying and accessing appropriate healthcare providers.
- Parents of children with congenital heart defects- the most common birth defect and leading cause of infant deaths-“crave disease stats, surgical information“.
The inability to identify and access appropriate specialists in a timely manner has real consequences.
- Low-volume surgical centers correlate with lower outcomes, includes higher mortality and morbidity rates, than high-volume centers.
- As of 2009, about 45,000 deaths occur every year in the United States as a result of a lack of or inadequate access to healthcare.
- “Substandard care leads to 260 premature deaths of African Americans each day.”
- 20% of Americans live in rural areas, but only 10% of doctors practice in these areas. Difficulty in accessing healthcare, including referrals to specialists result in “higher morbidity and mortality rates” compared to those of their urban counterparts.
- The longer a patient must wait to be seen by a specialist, the more likely he is to die.
- Limited access to specialty services may lead to poorer outcomes among the underinsured, medically underserved poor.