Defining rural, remote and isolated practices: the example of Slovenia
Family Medicine & Primary Care Review
There is no single definition of rural practice available. Definitions vary from one country to another, as countries differ in geography and have different health care systems with varying organizational specificities, even within the same country. In spite of increased urbanization and the specific health-related problems it brings with it, a large proportion of the world population still dwells in rural, remote, and isolated areas. In fact, there are many countries in the world with
... world with extensive rural areas. Rural areas are unique in organization, demographics, and infrastructure, and so are the specific health-related problems of people living in them. Healthcare in such areas is generally provided by general practitioners or by physicians specialized in family medicine. One of the basic challenges in rural health is defining which areas are rural and finding the characteristics that define "rural". There are several criteria and combinations of criteria that can be used to define rural areas. Their use mostly depends on the purpose for which the definition is used, and can thus vary from application to application. This paper addresses issues in rural family practice and criteria that may be used to define such practices. It also presents the use of criteria for defining rural practices in a small European country, on the example of Slovenia.