Date of Conferral





Health Services


Christopher M. Miller


A significant portion of the U.S. population across the country has limited access to quality healthcare; however, this situation is more pronounced in rural areas. One potential solution is for healthcare practitioners to move their services to underserved rural areas to improve healthcare coverage. No previous studies have explored the perceptions of practitioners regarding their influence on healthcare access, particularly the potential impact of moving healthcare services to underserved areas. Thus, the purpose of this research was to address this gap. A qualitative phenomenological approach was adopted. A sample of 24 participants was selected using purposive sampling, from the target population of medical doctors in the southeastern area of the United States. Open-ended interview questions used during data collection, prompted respondents to provide insightful feedback. A deductive coding procedure was used to mirror the 6 dimensions of healthcare access. The results point to 3 major themes: (a) physicians increase healthcare acceptability and awareness through their knowledge and experience; (b) physicians increase accommodation through consideration of patients’ needs and coordination of care, and (c) physicians increase resource availability through use of electronic medical records. This research study affords a clearer understanding of physicians’ perceptions and may guide the development of informational awareness-raising materials for physicians and also alludes to the need to promote positive relationships between physicians and patients to maximize healthcare accessibility in the United States.