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Healthcare providersí perceptions of potentially preventable rural hospitalisations: a qualitative study


Ridge, A and Peterson, GM and Seidel, BM and Anderson, V and Nash, R, Healthcare providers' perceptions of potentially preventable rural hospitalisations: a qualitative study, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18, (23) Article 12767. ISSN 1660-4601 (2021) [Refereed Article]

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© 2021. The Authors. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License ( The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

DOI: doi:10.3390/ijerph182312767


Potentially preventable hospitalisations (PPHs) are common in rural communities in Australia and around the world. Healthcare providers have a perspective on PPHs that may not be accessible by analysing routine patient data. This study explores the factors that healthcare providers believe cause PPHs and seeks to identify strategies for preventing them. Physicians, nurses, paramedics, and health administrators with experience in managing rural patients with PPHs were recruited from southern Tasmania, Australia. Semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted, and reflexive thematic analysis was used to analyse the data. Participants linked health literacy, limited access to primary care, and perceptions of primary care services with PPH risk. The belief that patients did not have a good understanding of where, when, and how to manage their health was perceived to be linked to patient-specific health literacy challenges. Access to primary healthcare was impacted by appointment availability, transport, and financial constraints. In contrast, it was felt that the prompt, comprehensive, and free healthcare delivered in hospitals appealed to patients and influenced their decision to bypass rural primary healthcare services. Strategies to reduce PPHs in rural Australian communities may include promoting health literacy, optimising the delivery of existing services, and improving social support structures.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:rural, primary care, preventable hospitalisation, avoidable, health literacy, access
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Primary health care
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Provision of health and support services
Objective Field:Community health care
UTAS Author:Ridge, A (Mr Andrew Ridge)
UTAS Author:Peterson, GM (Professor Gregory Peterson)
UTAS Author:Seidel, BM (Professor Bastian Seidel)
UTAS Author:Anderson, V (Ms Vinah Anderson)
UTAS Author:Nash, R (Dr Rosie Nash)
ID Code:148661
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:4
Deposited By:Pharmacy
Deposited On:2022-02-01
Last Modified:2022-03-04
Downloads:5 View Download Statistics

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