The World Health Organization (WHO) spearheads efforts internationally to work toward improved health on a global level. In providing toolkits, they offer strategies to facilitate healthcare practice change, and strive to give equal opportunity for people to experience a healthy life. The WHO recognized the impact that the geographic location of healthcare services has on patient outcomes. The physical location of healthcare resources directly affects how quickly patient needs are met. WHO-CHOICE uses Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to evaluate feasibility of reaching healthcare services (WHO, n.d.). They go further to involve national planning services, cost appraisal, and policy deliberation to investigate maximum benefits for health system establishment possibilities (WHO, n.d.). This toolbox is a free resource and looks at access to care from the perspective of the target population, the availability of coverage, and the accessibility of a specific type of service (WHO, n.d.). Toolkits such as these provide valuable information not only to patients, but also to practitioners, healthcare organizations, and those who formulate and implement policy.
It is known that disparities in adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer care have occurred on the basis of race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Additional evidence has unveiled that AYA cancer patients living in more remote areas requiring travel time to seek healthcare services, have additional disadvantages leading to disparate outcomes. This patient population tends to have their disease diagnosed at more advanced stages and have a lower rate of survival (Darlington & Green, 2021). Supporting this concept, there is a proven increase in late-stage diagnoses for young cancer patients in rural settings as opposed to metropolitan areas (Darlington & Green, 2021). National Cancer Institute (NCI) – designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers are able to provide the epitome of cancer with their ability to offer the latest technologies, well-trained oncology caregivers, and novel options such clinical trials (Sutton & Mayo, 2021). NCI cancer center locations however, tend to be skewed to the Eastern portion of the US requiring generous time commitments or temporary relocations on the part of patients. Also broadly speaking, remote sectors have decreased access to specialized care centers with cutting edge diagnostic tools (Darlington & Green, 2021). This may cause the diagnostic process to take longer, placing patients at a survival disadvantage in addition to compromising access to preventive care. With the WHO’s AccessMod, this barrier can be readily identified. An advance practice nurse (APN) can more adeptly intervene and guide patients and families toward plausible options for care. Additionally, the APN can align with the WHO’s actions in identifying rural areas with strong healthcare needs. With knowledge and resources provided by the WHO, the APN can become involved in supporting legislation and healthcare policy to help establish care services where they are sorely needed.
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