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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 27  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 158-168

The economic impact of rural healthcare on rural economies: A rapid review


1 Human Sciences Division, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Thunder Bay, ON; Faculty of Education, University of Winnipeg, Winnipeg, MB, Canada
2 Human Sciences Division, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Thunder Bay, ON, Canada
3 Human Sciences Division, Northern Ontario School of Medicine; Centre for Social Accountability, Thunder Bay, ON, Canada

Correspondence Address:
PhD Brenton L G. Button
Human Sciences Division, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Thunder Bay, ON; Faculty of Education, University of Winnipeg, Winnipeg, MB
Canada
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/cjrm.cjrm_70_21

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Introduction: One critical component of any rural community is its healthcare system. Rural healthcare systems are essential as rural communities have worse health outcomes when compared to urban areas. Rural healthcare systems might also have a positive impact on rural economies. In some rural areas, these health services are threatened with a reduction or closure. This rapid review was carried out to examine the impact of rural healthcare systems' declines on rural economies. Methods: We conducted a rapid review of peer-reviewed and grey literature sources on studies that examined the economic impact of rural healthcare on rural economies in Canada, Australia, Scandinavia and the United States of America (USA). We used a data extraction template adapted from the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination. Results: We found 17 research papers between two databases and nine websites. Articles examined various health professions (dentist, physician assistant and pharmacist), the inclusion of family physicians, a physician with an increased scope of practice (obstetrics and surgery), the impact of a rural primary care hospital, telemedicine, a distributed medical education programme and the health care sector. Conclusion: Rural healthcare seems to have a positive impact on jobs and labour-based wages in rural communities. There is a considerable need for research outside the USA.


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