Educational Attainment and Perceived Need for Urgent Care

Published in: Medical Care Research and Review, Volume 77, Issue 5, pages 428–441 (2020). doi: 10.1177/1077558718804748

Posted on RAND.org on August 27, 2020

by Brian Karl Finch, Ann C. Haas, Amelia Haviland, Jake Dembosky, Sarah J. Gaillot, Marc N. Elliott

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While lower educational attainment is associated with worse health status, education may also affect one's ability to identify need for urgent care. Using data from the 2010 Medicare CAHPS survey, we estimated multivariate logistic models to test the relationship between self-reported educational attainment and the perceived need for urgent care, controlling for health status and other factors. As expected, lower educational attainment was associated with greater reported need for urgent care in bivariate analyses because of poorer health. However, lower educational attainment was associated with less perceived need for urgent care after controlling for health status, particularly for those in poor health. These findings suggest the need for interventions to improve the likelihood that people with less education recognize the need for urgent care, particularly those in poor health and in most need of urgent care.

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