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Poor people view hospitals as providing better access, care, and social support

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f4556 (Published 17 July 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f4556
  1. Michael McCarthy
  1. 1Seattle

Many urban poor people prefer going to hospital for care rather than a doctor’s office because they perceive hospital care as less expensive, more accessible, and of higher quality, and because hospitals provide social and emotional support that many of these patients lack in the community, says a study in the current issue of the journal Health Affairs.1

Researchers interviewed 40 low income hospital patients from poor neighborhoods in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The participants were also selected to create two patient profiles: those who reported five or more acute care episodes in the previous six months, Profile A; and those who had one to four episodes, Profile B.

The study’s lead author was Shreya Kangovi, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar in the department of medicine at the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Twelve men and 28 women participated in the study. Their average age was 42.2, standard deviation 14.5, and 90% were African American.

The researchers said, “Most participants perceived two main benefits of hospital care relative to ambulatory care: better overall access across a variety of domains and higher levels of trust in the technical quality of hospital providers and services.”

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