Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Committee Member

Frederick W. Preston

Number of Pages



This dissertation examines the public and medical professionals' perceptions of the capabilities of quick-care clinic and hospital emergency departments. A probability-based survey was administered to three hundred and sixty-six adults in the Las Vegas metropolitan area detailing twenty-one medical conditions ranging in severity from an ingrown toenail to a child not breathing. For each scenario the respondent was asked to select either a hospital emergency department or a quick-care clinic as the appropriate facility for the proper treatment of each medical condition. Their responses were then compared to a medical benchmark which was established by a sample of one hundred and fifteen health care professionals currently working in hospital emergency departments and quick-care clinics. By holding constant respondent's economic status, insurance, HMO rules, the location of the facilities, and the confusion and inevitable intangibles associated with medical decisions, this study can focus on the actual medical condition as the determining factor in the public's perception of which medical condition should be treated where; The principal findings of this study show that the general public does seem capable of correctly differentiating between the medical capabilities of hospital emergency departments and quick-care clinics for a wide range of emergency and non-emergency health conditions. From a public health point of view, while there are some significant differences in facility perception from within the general public sample, I believe those discrepancies can be overcome by a combination of public service messages, community education, and a more audience-specific marketing campaign designed to attract older and minority patients to quick-care clinics for non-emergency conditions. Some significant differences in perception are also noted from within the medical staff population. Gender, age and job title differences were not strong predictors of facility selection. The location of where the medical respondent works, however, is the most reliable predictor of facility selection. Those differences and their implication for evaluating previous and future work are addressed.


Analysis; Capabilities; Care; Clinic; ER; Emergency Department; Hospital; Illness; Injury; Pre-illness; Public Perceptions; Quick-care Clinic

Controlled Subject

Public policy; Public health; Sociology

File Format


File Size

3850.24 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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