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Access to Care: The Ambulatory Setting

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Enabling access to care means providing timely, necessary, and appropriate health care services. Nearly all health systems prioritize improving access to care for patients, but many struggle to meet this challenge.

This page features resources that include proven practices, successful strategies, and real-world examples from AAMC-member institutions. Health systems can use the Access to Care Framework, Data Snapshots, and other resources to improve and expand access to ambulatory care.

Access to Care Framework

The Access to Care Framework was developed based on common themes from high-performing organizations. Listed below, drivers that support improved patient-centered access to care are supported in the report, A Patient-Centered Approach to Optimizing Ambulatory Access: Insights from Leaders in Academic Medicine. The report includes real-world examples of these drivers.

Initiate

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Engaged Leadership

  • System growth and access strategy
  • Access governance and leadership structure
  • Culture
     

 

Develop

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Structure and Standard Processes

  • Scheduling
  • Capacity and demand management
  • Systemwide policies and work processes
  • Data-driven performance improvement
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Actionable Data and Analytics

  • Metric selection and measurement
  • Data integrity
  • Data reporting and transparency
     

 

Enable

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Optimize Care Delivery

  • Team-based care
  • Population health management
  • Performance optimization
  • Equitable, patient-centered care
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Workforce Engagement

  • Onboarding
  • Education and training
  • Incentives, recognition, and rewards
     
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Leverage Technology

  • Electronic medical record optimization
  • Virtual health capabilities
  • Digital front door
  • Artificial intelligence and predictive analytics
     

 

Resources

Reports

A Patient-Centered Approach to Optimizing Ambulatory Access: Insights from Leaders in Academic Medicine
This report provides a framework to help health care organizations improve access to care. It features proven practices, successful strategies, and real-world examples from AAMC-member institutions. Learn more.

Learning and Leading in Access to Care: An Overview of Member Collaboratives from the AAMC and Vizient
This report helps in-patient and ambulatory care leaders and staff at U.S. health systems and outpatient clinics understand several national efforts conducted by the AAMC and Vizient to improve access to care in the patient care setting. Learn more.

Data Snapshots

The Data Snapshots below offer overviews of the variation in data for three ambulatory access measures across Clinical Practice Solutions Center organizations. Each Snapshot also provides specific strategies for improving new patient median lag time, provider and clinic cancellations, and new patient percentage, as well as guidance that health systems can use when evaluating their own data.

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