Date of Award

Summer 2021

Document Type

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Leah Seurer

Second Advisor

Jill Tyler

Third Advisor

Jean Caraway


healthcare, rural, patient education, health literacy

Subject Categories

Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Medical Humanities | Quality Improvement


Patients in rural areas are more likely to experience worse health outcomes than patients in urban or suburban areas. The reasons for this discrepancy are multi-faceted, including inequities in resources and access, as well as differences in the environment. Rural providers understand what education and resources patients are missing as they often interact with patients in multiple contexts. We interviewed rural providers and performed an inductive thematic content analysis of the interviews to shed some insight into what information rural patients would need to be better healthcare advocates for themselves. Three themes emerged from the interview data: health education, access, and preventative care. This study proposes that patient education could be one path towards better health outcomes for this population. We suggest that a patient resource for rural residents would need to include accessible, quickly understood health education, information about healthcare access, discussion about telehealth, and stress the importance of preventative care for this patient population.



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