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Am J Public Health. 1977 May;67(5):439-45.

Factors affecting the choice of hospital-based ambulatory care by the urban poor.


This study of patients in the outpatient department at an urban hospital revealed that almost all could have reached a neighborhood center in less time and only a small number came to the hospital rather than a neighborhood center out of medical necessity. When the patients were asked about their willingness to obtain treatment at a neighborhood center, 48 per cent were willing, 52 per cent were not. These responses did not vary by demographic or medical characteristics but rather by the patients' stated priorities regarding medical care. Eighty per cent of those willing to change sites stressed convenience of access as a first priority compared with only 17 per ccent of those not willing to change. Emphasis on quality of care (45 per cent) or on familarity with the site (37 per cent) distinguished the group not willing to change. The findings suggest that successful efforts to persuade patients to utilize a neighborhood center must base their appeal on patients' individual priorities.

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