What Matters to Low-Income Patients in Ambulatory Care Facilities?
Poor, uninsured, and minority patients depend disproportionately on hospital outpatient departments (OPDs) and freestanding health centers for ambulatory care. These providers confront significant challenges, including limited resources, greater demand for services, and the need to improve quality and patient satisfaction. The authors use a survey of patients in OPDs and health centers in New York City to determine which aspects of the ambulatory care visit have the greatest influence on patients’ overall site evaluation. The personal interaction between patients and physicians, provider continuity, and the general cleanliness/appearance of the facility stand out as high priorities. Access to services and interactions with other facility staff are of significant, although lesser, importance. These findings suggest ways to restructure the delivery of care so that it is more responsive to the concerns of low-income patients.