Access barriers to healthcare for people living with disabilities

Natalie Hamilton, Oluwatoyin Olumolade, Madelyn Aittama, Olivia Samoray, Maham Khan, Jason Adam Wasserman, Kirsten Weber, Neli Ragina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Aim: This study elucidated healthcare access barriers to receiving adequate services among adults with disabilities. In particular, we utilized community focus groups to contrast urban and rural communities and target improvement in educational services, healthcare policy reform, and outreach programs for this underserved patient population. Subject and methods: Focus groups and interviews were conducted with adults living with a wide range of physical and intellectual disabilities in 12 counties in the Mid-Michigan area. Data were analyzed using narrative coding and conceptualization techniques to identify emergent themes grounded in the data. Results: Three major themes emerged from the data: (1) a lack of patient-centeredness that impedes the quality of care; (2) inadequate communication that marginalizes patients within the clinical encounter; (3) accessibility barriers that interfere with navigating the healthcare system. Conclusion: Access to healthcare for people living with disabilities represents a significant challenge, especially in a rural setting. Although improved technology may make healthcare more efficient, the majority of patients with disabilities faced access barriers and implicated deficits in “patient-centered care” as a factor in poor health care experiences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1069-1077
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Public Health (Germany)
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2022


  • Accessibility
  • Disability
  • Health equity
  • Patient-centeredness


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