The influence of a "culture of referral" on access to care in rural settings after myocardial infarction

Patricia H Caldwell, Heather M Arthur
Health & Place 2009, 15 (1): 180-5
Access to care is an issue for rural people who require tertiary care following a myocardial infarction (MI). Access to specialized cardiac health services is contingent upon referral to tertiary care in urban centers. Using a critical ethnographic approach, rural women, their nurses and physicians were interviewed to explore how rurality affected women's referral and access to care following a MI. Findings reflect that a previously undocumented culture of referral that was shaped by human factors influenced access to care. The culture of referral reflected an urban-centric approach to the provision of cardiovascular services and a medical hierarchy within the referral system. The findings extend conceptual understandings of access to health care in relation to rural populations.

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