Affordable Medications

One of the hard realities of serving in rural communities is that many of our patients have a hard time affording the medications they desperately need.

We’ve located a resource to help with that process.  The National Center for Farmworker Health has produced a series of easy-to-read fact sheets about the safest and most affordable medications to treat specific conditions or illnesses. Topics include diabetes, heart disease, menopause, depression, and many others.

Available in both English and Spanish, each fact sheet is based on extensive reports published by Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs that share the results of research conducted to determine the most effective, safe and affordable medicines available in the market for each condition. Generic medicines, if available, were included in the analysis as well.

What other resources for affordable medications do you have?

Registration Now Open!

Registration for the Rural Residents Research Symposium is now open!

Scheduled for April 22nd at the Slemp Center of UVA Wise; this is a day for residents to present original research (not case studies) regarding topics of interest to rural primary care docs and their peers.

Slots at the Rural Residents Research Symposium are 30-45 minutes long; anyone interested in presenting must meet the criteria of rural focus and should apply through their residency coordinator.

A limit of two applications per residency program will be accepted with a total of 10 presentations.  The top two presentations will be invited to speak at the 2016 Head for the Hills event in October.

Click here to register.  For questions, contact GMEC Director Wendy Welch at wow6n@uvawise.edu

 

Urban Choosing Rural

A recent study noted that having a rural origin is a primary factor in medical students choosing to practice in rural areas.  The study decided to turn that information around and ask what influences urban students to also choose rural.

“Determinants of an urban origin student choosing rural practice” used a scoping review of the literature, in contrast to a traditional systematic review.  Out of these 17 studies, the following four factors that suggest why urban-origin medical students may choose rural practice were generated:

  • geographic diffusion of physicians in response to economic forces such as debt repayment and financial incentives
  • scope of practice and personal satisfaction
  • undergraduate and postgraduate rural training
  • premedical school mindset to practice rurally

The study concluded:

Urban-origin students may choose rural practice because of market forces as well as financial incentives. The participation in undergraduate and postgraduate rural training is reported to positively alter the attitude of urban-origin students. A small subset of these students has a predetermined mindset to practice rurally at the time of matriculation.

Obstacles for choosing a rural carrier include, but are not limited to lack of job and education opportunities for spouses/partners, lack of recreational and educational opportunities for children, and obscure opportunities for continuing medical education.

 

 

Remote Residency?

Last week we asked if skipping residency was the solution to addressing the doctor shortage in rural communities.  And if skipping residency wasn’t the answer; what is?

A recently published study proposed that maybe tele-residency is part of the solution.  “The feasibility and acceptability of administering a telemedicine objective structured clinical exam as a solution for providing equivalent education to remote and rural learners” reviewed remote residencies from both the fiscal and student acceptability aspects.  The study introduction notes:

 Although many medical schools incorporate distance learning into their curricula, assessing students at a distance can be challenging. While some assessments are relatively simple to administer to remote students, other assessments, such as objective structured clinical exams (OSCEs) are not.

Students were assigned mock patients in rural areas which the student would examine via telemedicine (teleOSCE).  In addition to demonstrating clinical competency, the student also had to show “understanding of the geographic and socioeconomic realities of rural patients: learners must incorporate rural circumstances into the plan of care.”

TeleOSCE  was determined to be both fiscally feasible and valuable to the students.  It also served to:

expose students to telemedicine visits as a new model of rural care, while simultaneously increasing awareness of common issues in rural population health.

So it is affordable, and the students like it – but does make up for not having residents physically present in rural communities?