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Needs analysis for change in healthcare refers to a systematic and comprehensive assessment to identify and evaluate the requirements, demands, and gaps in healthcare delivery to initiate transformative modifications. This process thoroughly examines various aspects such as patient care, healthcare infrastructure, resource allocation, and organizational efficiency. Needs analysis uses evidence-based methodologies to gather quantitative and qualitative data, including patient outcomes, clinical indicators, and stakeholder feedback, to determine improvement or transformation areas. Through statistical analyses and epidemiological approaches, the needs analysis identifies patterns, trends, and disparities within the healthcare system, enabling healthcare providers and policymakers to formulate targeted strategies for change (Ko et al., 2019). The main objective of this assessment is to develop a need analysis for the economic issue of lack of access and funding for underserved and rural communities.

Summary of the Chosen Economic Issue

The economic issue of lack of access and financing for underserved and rural communities in the United States is a significant challenge that hampers equitable development and opportunities for these areas. According to statistics, approximately 19 million Americans need to have an approach to high-speed internet, disproportionately affecting countryside areas. This digital divide exacerbates the disparities in education, healthcare, and economic opportunities between urban and rural regions (Ali, 2020). Furthermore, rural communities often need more access to essential services, such as healthcare facilities, banks, and grocery stores. Studies indicate that federal infrastructure and community development funding tends to be concentrated in urban and suburban areas, leaving rural communities underserved. Access and funding are necessary for economic growth, job creation, and quality of life for residents in these areas. Addressing this issue requires targeted investments in infrastructure, broadband expansion, and improved access to essential services to bridge the urban-rural divide and promote inclusive economic development across the nation. According to the National Rural Health Association, approximately 19% of the U.S. population lives in countryside areas, yet merely 10% of doctors practice in these zones (Fisk et al., 2020). This disparity in healthcare access results in faltered or ineffective healthcare, leading to insignificant health results and expanded healthcare costs in the long run (Jara et al., 2021).

Impact of Economic Issue

In my work as a nurse, I have witnessed firsthand the consequences of this economic issue. Underserved and rural communities often face primary care, specialized services, and preventive care challenges. Patients may have to travel long distances to reach healthcare facilities, making receiving timely treatment or follow-up care difficult. Limited funding further exacerbates the problem, as healthcare organizations in these areas need help to provide the necessary resources, equipment, and staffing (Kaye, 2020).

The strain caused by my organization’s lack of access and funding is palpable. Healthcare professionals often need to be more balanced, attempting to address the healthcare needs of a larger population with limited resources. This situation strains the healthcare workforce, leading to increased workload, burnout, and reduced job satisfaction. The quality of patient care can also be compromised, as time constraints and resource limitations make it challenging to provide comprehensive and holistic care (Jara et al., 2021).

On a broader scale, the entire community feels the impact of this economic issue. The underserved and rural populations’ health disparities contribute to a cycle of poverty and diminished economic productivity. When individuals cannot access adequate healthcare, their overall well-being suffers, hindering their ability to work and contribute to the local economy. Furthermore, the burden of untreated or poorly managed health conditions places a significant financial strain on families and communities as healthcare costs escalate (Kaye, 2020).

Rationale and Gap for Pursing the Issue

The rationale for pursuing this issue is grounded in the principles of social justice and equitable access to healthcare. Regardless of geographical location or socioeconomic status, everyone deserves the right to timely and quality healthcare services. Addressing the gap in access and funding for underserved and rural communities requires collaborative efforts from policymakers, healthcare organizations, and community leaders. Increased funding for healthcare infrastructure, incentives to attract healthcare professionals to underserved areas, and innovative telehealth solutions are potential strategies to bridge the gap and improve the health outcomes for these marginalized populations. Investing in equitable healthcare access can create a healthier, more resilient, and prosperous society for all (Fisk et al., 2020).

Socioeconomic or Diversity Disparities

The lack of access and funding for underserved and rural communities in the United States highlights significant socioeconomic and diversity disparities. Data reveals that these disparities disproportionately impact specific groups and populations, exacerbating existing inequalities. Regarding socioeconomic disparities, low-income communities, often comprising racial and ethnic minorities, face higher barriers to accessing resources and opportunities due to limited financial means. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the poverty rate for rural areas was 16.4% in 2020, compared to 10.6% in urban areas. Additionally, rural communities frequently need more job opportunities and lower average incomes than their urban counterparts (Shrider et al., 2021).

Furthermore, diversity disparities are evident in the impact of the economic issue. Ethnic and racial minority populations are disproportionately affected by the lack of access and funding for underserved and rural communities. Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture highlights that Native American, Black, and Hispanic communities are more likely to reside in rural areas and face more significant challenges in accessing essential services, such as healthcare, education, and infrastructure. These disparities hinder economic development and contribute to health disparities, educational inequalities, and limited social mobility (Nguyen et al., 2021).

Evidence-Based or Academic Sources Addressing the Issue

The lack of access and funding for underserved and rural communities is an economic issue that has garnered significant attention in scholarly research and evidence-based sources. Numerous studies have highlighted the disparities faced by these communities and emphasized the urgent need to address this issue. For instance, research by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) indicates that rural communities experience higher poverty rates and lower median incomes than urban areas. This economic disparity creates significant barriers to accessing essential healthcare, education, and reliable infrastructure (McGuirt et al., 2022).

Moreover, studies have consistently shown that limited access to funding opportunities further exacerbates the economic challenges underserved and rural communities face. Research published in reputable journals like the Journal of Rural Studies and Economic Development Quarterly reveals that these communities often need help attracting investments and securing financial resources for local businesses and infrastructure development. This lack of funding contributes to a vicious cycle of economic stagnation, making it difficult for these communities to break free from the cycle of poverty and underdevelopment (Shrider et al., 2021).

The implications of neglecting the needs of underserved and rural communities are substantial. Evidence suggests that these communities face higher rates of unemployment, limited educational opportunities, and reduced access to quality healthcare. This hampers individual well-being and undermines overall economic growth and social cohesion within the nation. Additionally, a study published in the Journal of Applied Economics estimates that addressing the economic disparities faced by rural communities could potentially contribute to an increase in national GDP by several percentage points (Perry et al., 2021). Furthermore, improving health outcomes in rural communities can significantly impact both individual well-being and overall economic productivity. Studies have shown that rural areas often face unique health challenges, including limited access to healthcare services, higher rates of chronic diseases, and disparities in health outcomes compared to urban areas (Ko et al., 2019).

Potential Change or Implementation Plan

Evidence-based sources propose potential changes and implementation plans to address these pressing issues. For instance, increasing access to affordable capital and financial resources for small businesses in rural and underserved areas is recommended. This could be achieved by establishing community development financial institutions (CDFIs) and expanding federal loan programs specifically tailored to the needs of these communities (Bourgeault et al., 2020). Furthermore, investing in infrastructure development, including broadband internet access, transportation, and healthcare facilities, is crucial to bridge the existing gaps and promote economic growth (Wynand, 2020). Additionally, supporting educational initiatives and training programs related to health to equip individuals in these communities with relevant skills can enhance their employability and contribute to long-term economic prosperity (Nguyen et al., 2021).

Outcomes and Growth Opportunities

The proposed change or implementation plan has the potential to yield significant outcomes and opportunities for growth in healthcare, particularly in underserved and rural communities. Small businesses in these areas can thrive by increasing access to affordable capital and financial resources by establishing CDFIs and federal loan programs. This would create new healthcare facilities and services, improving access to medical care for residents who previously faced barriers. Enhanced infrastructure development, including broadband internet access and transportation, would enable telemedicine and remote healthcare services to bridge the geographical divide and ensure that individuals in distant areas receive the care they need (Kangovi et al., 2020).

Furthermore, supporting educational initiatives and job training programs would empower individuals in underserved communities to acquire the skills necessary for employment in the healthcare sector. This would not only address the economic issue of unemployment but also create a pool of healthcare professionals who understand and cater to the specific needs of their communities. These communities can develop a sustainable healthcare workforce by investing in education and training, reducing reliance on external medical professionals, and promoting local economic growth (Bourgeault et al., 2020).

Economic Benefits

The proposed change or implementation plan has the potential to generate substantial economic benefits for patients and healthcare organizations in underserved and rural communities. Access to adequate healthcare services is a fundamental need, and addressing the lack of access and funding in these communities can lead to improved health outcomes and economic growth (Flaherty & Bartels, 2019). Research indicates that when underserved communities have better access to healthcare services, the economy has a positive impact. For example, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation study found that increasing access to primary care services in underserved areas resulted in significant economic benefits. It estimated that every dollar invested in expanding access to primary care in underserved communities generated a financial return of $13.20 in direct and indirect economic activity (Kangovi et al., 2020).

Improved access to healthcare services can lead to several economic benefits for patients. Firstly, it reduces the financial burden of traveling long distances to seek medical care. Patients in underserved and rural communities often face higher transportation costs and time constraints when accessing healthcare services, which can hinder receiving timely and necessary maintenance (Ko et al., 2019). With local healthcare facilities and providers, patients can save on transportation costs and reduce productivity losses due to long travel times. Additionally, increased access to healthcare services can improve patients’ overall health and well-being, increasing productivity and reducing healthcare costs in the long term. When individuals have better access to preventive care and early intervention, they are less likely to develop severe health conditions that require costly treatments or hospitalizations. This improves patients’ quality of life and reduces the financial burden on individuals and the healthcare system (Bourgeault et al., 2020).

From the perspective of healthcare organizations, implementing the proposed plan can result in several economic benefits. Firstly, expanding healthcare services in underserved and rural communities can increase patient volumes, resulting in higher revenues for healthcare providers. This can create opportunities for healthcare organizations to invest in infrastructure, technology, and staff, ultimately enhancing the quality and range of services they offer (Flaherty & Bartels, 2019). Moreover, improved access to healthcare services can help reduce health disparities and improve population health outcomes. This, in turn, can contribute to a healthier and more productive workforce, benefiting the local economy and the healthcare system. A study published in the American Journal of Public Health estimated that reducing healthcare access and quality disparities could result in an annual savings of $229 billion in direct medical care costs and $1 trillion in indirect costs due to productivity gains (Crowley et al., 2020).

Conclusion NURS FPX 6008 Assesment 2 Needs Analysis for Change

In conclusion, addressing the lack of access and funding for underserved and rural communities in healthcare can lead to significant economic benefits for patients and healthcare organizations. Improved access to healthcare services can reduce financial burdens on patients, enhance their overall health and well-being, and increase productivity. For healthcare organizations, it can result in higher revenues, improved infrastructure, and a healthier workforce. By investing in the proposed changes and implementation plan, underserved communities can experience improved healthcare outcomes and positive economic growth.


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