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Healthcare 2015, 3(1), 84-99;

Access to Specialist Care in Rural Saskatchewan: The Saskatchewan Rural Health Study

Canadian Centre for Health and Safety in Agriculture, University of Saskatchewan, 104 Clinic Place, Saskatoon, SK S7N 2Z4, Canada
College of Nursing, University of Saskatchewan, 104 Clinic Place, Saskatoon, SK S7N 2Z4, Canada
Department of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Royal University Hospital, 103 Hospital Drive, Saskatoon, SK S7N 0W8, Canada
Department of Community Health & Epidemiology, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, 107 Wiggins Road, Saskatoon, SK S7N 5E5, Canada
Department of Public Health Sciences, Queens University, Kingston, ON K7L 3N6, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Domenico Conforti
Received: 24 June 2014 / Revised: 23 July 2014 / Accepted: 10 February 2015 / Published: 16 February 2015
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1084 KB, uploaded 16 February 2015]   |  


The role of place has emerged as an important factor in determining people’s health experiences. Rural populations experience an excess in mortality and morbidity compared to those in urban settings. One of the factors thought to contribute to this rural-urban health disparity is access to healthcare. The objective of this analysis was to examine access to specialized medical care services and several possible determinants of access to services in a distinctly rural population in Canada. In winter 2010, we conducted a baseline mail survey of 11,982 households located in rural Saskatchewan, Canada. We obtained 4620 completed household surveys. A key informant for each household responded to questions about access to medical specialists and the exact distance traveled to these services. Correlates of interest included the location of the residence within the province and within each household, socioeconomic status, household smoking status, median age of household residents, number of non-respiratory chronic conditions and number of current respiratory conditions. Analyses were conducted using log binomial regression for the outcome of interest. The overall response rate was 52%. Of households who required a visit to a medical specialist in the past 12 months, 23% reported having difficulty accessing specialist care. The magnitude of risk for encountering difficulty accessing medical specialist care services increased with the greatest distance categories. Accessing specialist care professionals by rural residents was particularly difficult for persons with current respiratory conditions. View Full-Text
Keywords: rural; specialist care; distance rural; specialist care; distance

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Karunanayake, C.P.; Rennie, D.C.; Hagel, L.; Lawson, J.; Janzen, B.; Pickett, W.; Dosman, J.A.; Pahwa, P.; The Saskatchewan Rural Health Study Group. Access to Specialist Care in Rural Saskatchewan: The Saskatchewan Rural Health Study. Healthcare 2015, 3, 84-99.

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