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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Transportation Often a Barrier to Health Care

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One of the major factors determining how healthy we all are is what’s referred to as social determinants of health, which are the conditions in the environments where people are born, live, learn, work, etc. Those factors play a vital role in people’s health, well-being and quality of life. 

Eskenazi Health has made it our objective to help alleviate those issues in our community by promoting eating healthy and nutritious food, fostering resilience and a healthy mindset, creating conditions for healthy living, supporting quality affordable and safe housing, building social capital and connections in the community, living free of violence and creating pathways to economic self-sufficiency.

Eskenazi Health announced last year our health equity zone initiative, a $60 million project that establishes three health equity zones in Indianapolis neighborhoods. These three health equity zones—which we plan to implement at Eskenazi Health Center sites by 2025—include Eskenazi Health Center West 38th Street – International Marketplace, Eskenazi Health Center East 38th Street – Northeast Corridor and Eskenazi Health Center Grassy Creek – Far Eastside.

While we consider all social determinants of health to be important, we believe adequate transportation and connectivity is a crucial and too often missing ingredient for healthful living that is sometimes overlooked. Without satisfactory transportation, patients who live too far away may be unable to access doctor’s appointments, obtain prescriptions, and, as a result, they do not receive the vital health care they need. Those who do not regularly visit with a primary care physician may miss out on important care.

At Eskenazi Health, we have located our health centers along IndyGo bus routes for easier access for our patients. We also have worked to support walking paths and trails in our community and added bike racks outside our facilities.

Although a lack of transportation adversely effects the connectivity between patients and their providers, advancements in telehealth – as utilized by Eskenazi Health – have helped to bridge that gap. Established Eskenazi Health patients with internet access may visit with their providers and get much of the care and attention they need through video telehealth connections via computers or mobile devices by utilizing Eskenazi Health MyChart.

Common conditions for telehealth appointments with Eskenazi Health physicians include: sinus issues (congestion, ear pain, sneezing), sore throat cough, eye redness or irritation, diarrhea, heartburn, back pain, pain when urinating and vaginal discharge.

Always available 24 hours each day, Eskenazi Health MyChart provides patients a convenient method to access their medical records and helps them participate in their health care. It also provides an efficient way to communicate directly with Eskenazi Health care providers.

For more information, please visit eskenazihealth.edu/patients/neighborhood-resources.

By Broderick Rhyant, M.D., chief executive physician with Eskenazi Health Center Forest Manor. For more transportation health care news from the Indianapolis Recorder, click here.

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