What principles should guide visiting primary health care services in rural and remote communities? Lessons from a systematic review

Timothy A. Carey, David Sirett, John Wakerman, Deborah Russell, John S. Humphreys

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Visiting health services are a feature of health care delivery in rural and remote contexts. These services are often described as 'fly-in fly-out' or 'drive-in drive-out'. Posing the question 'What are the different types of visiting models of primary health care being used in rural and remote communities?', the objective of this article was to describe a typology of models of health services that visit remote communities. A systematic review of peer-reviewed literature from established databases was undertaken. Data were extracted from 20 papers (16 peer-reviewed papers and four from other sources), which met the inclusion criteria. From the available evidence, it was difficult to develop a typology of services. The central feature of service providers visiting rural and remote districts on a regular basis was consistent, although the service provider's geographical base varied and the extent to which the same service provider should be providing the service was not consistently endorsed. While a clear typology did not emerge from the systematic review, it became apparent that a set of guiding principles might be more helpful to service providers and planners. Focusing policy and decision-making on important principles of visiting services, rather than their typological features, is likely to be of ultimately more benefit to the health outcomes of people who live in rural and remote communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-156
Number of pages11
JournalThe Australian Journal of Rural Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018


  • Access
  • Equity
  • Primary health care
  • Rural and remote
  • Visiting services

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