IOM: The doctor will see you TODAY should be standard

Access to care remains a problem in the U.S because scheduling is based on providers' convenience, and practices fail to properly use nurse practitioners and physician assistants, according to an Institute of Medicine report.

The report, titled Transforming Health Care Scheduling and Access: Getting to Now, follows up on the IOM's landmark 2001 report, Crossing the Quality Chasm, which identified six properties of high-quality healthcare: safety, effectiveness, patient-centeredness, efficiency, equity and timeliness. Of those six, according to the new report, timeliness is probably the least studied and understood.

The report was partially funded by the Veterans Affairs Department and was prompted by the recent scandal at VA facilities in Phoenix, where 40 veterans died while waiting for an appointment. While their deaths were not necessarily caused by their inability to get healthcare, the IOM report cites studies showing how delays in care can have severe consequences for patients with cancer, diabetes, joint problems, kidney disease, and mental and substance-abuse issues. 

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