Our last article explored how transportation standards in healthcare make medical services accessible to some patients, workers, and visitors with disabilities. In this article, we discuss how stronger transportation standards in healthcare are needed to make medical settings accessible for patients using specialized transportation.
Stronger Transportation Standards in Healthcare
Increased demand for specialized services means that many specialized transportation companies can no longer obey all the regulations of the Transportation Standards. For instance, many companies no longer allow travellers to book rides on the days they need them. This practice means that some patients cannot reach a clinic if they have a health concern. They can reach hospitals by ambulance, but they must pay for this service. In contrast, people who can transport themselves on demand would only need to pay bus or cab fare.
Similarly, a patient must book in advance to travel to their doctor and then travel home again. However, they cannot change the booking if their doctor needs them to go to a lab or pharmacy. Instead, they must take another trip. Many companies require travellers to book trips three days in advance. Therefore, these patients would reach their lab or pharmacy four days after their original appointment.
Moreover, most specialized transportation companies offer shared-ride services. As a result, they cannot guarantee that patients will reach their appointments on time. Patients may lose their appointments and need to schedule another one before they see their doctor. If the doctor is a specialist, waits because of missed appointments may be months or years.
Increased demand for specialized transit will continue. As the Ontario population ages, more and more people will need to use this service when accessing healthcare. Stronger transportation standards in healthcare could meet this ongoing need in several ways. For instance, more regulations in the Transportation Standards should relate directly to healthcare, like the regulation for public hospitals. Furthermore, the standard could reserve several specialized transportation vehicles for healthcare. Patients could book them on the day of their trips to walk-in clinics. They could book in advance for appointments but the vehicles they booked could take them directly to their appointments so that they would always be on time. Patients could also arrange post-appointment trips once they knew where they should be travelling.
As more people develop disabilities, accessibility to transportation will become more important, in healthcare and all other sectors. Stronger transportation standards in healthcare will make medical care more accessible to the growing number of citizens with disabilities.