Administrative Burden for Patients in U.S. Health Care Settings Post-Affordable Care Act: A Scoping Review.

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Social Science & Medicine (1982)

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Administrative burdens are the costs associated with receiving a service or accessing a program. Based on the Herd & Moynihan framework, they occur in three subcategories: learning costs, compliance costs, and psychological costs. Administrative burdens manifest inequitably, more significantly impacting vulnerable populations. Administrative burdens may impact the health of those trying to access services, and in some cases block access to health-promoting services entirely. This scoping review examined studies focused on the impact on patients of administrative burden administrative burden in health care settings in the U.S. following the passage of the Affordable Care Act. We queried databases for empirical literature capturing patient administrative burden, retrieving 1578 records, with 31 articles ultimately eligible for inclusion. Of the 31 included studies, 18 used quantitative methods, nine used qualitative methods, three used mixed methods, and one was a case study. In terms of administrative burden subcategories, most patient outcomes reported were learning (22 studies) and compliance costs (26 studies). Psychological costs were the most rarely reported; all four studies describing psychological costs were qualitative in nature. Only twelve studies connected patient demographic data with administrative burden data, despite previous research suggesting an inequitable burden impact. Additionally, twenty-eight studies assessed administrative burden and only three attempted to reduce it via an intervention, resulting in a lack of data on intervention design and efficacy.


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