Cadernos de Saúde Pública
On-line version ISSN 1678-4464
THIEDE, Michael and MCINTYRE, Di. Information, communication and equitable access to health care: a conceptual note. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 2008, vol.24, n.5, pp. 1168-1173. ISSN 1678-4464. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-311X2008000500025.
This conceptual paper addresses the health policy goal of equitable access to health care from a perspective that highlights the role of choice. It sketches a framework around the three access dimensions availability, affordability, and acceptability. The "degree of fit" with respect to each of these dimensions between the health system and individuals or communities plays a role in determining the level of access to health services by outlining the existing choice set. Yet it is the degree of informedness about the choices that ultimately determines access to health services. Access is therefore defined as the freedom to utilize. The paper focuses on information and its properties, which cut across the dimensions of access. It is argued that equity-oriented health policy should stimulate communicative action in order to empower individuals and communities by expanding their subjective choice sets.
Keywords : Equity in Access; Health Services Acess; Health Communication.