An Analysis of VA Wait Time Data

June 27, 2014  |  David White

On June 9 the VA released the results from the “Accelerating Access to Care Initiative,” which includes wait time data for scheduling Primary Care, Specialties and Mental Health appointments for New and Established Patients.

However, data is only as good as the usability of its format. We found it helpful to create an interactive graphic that allows users to filter the data in order to draw meaningful conclusions. Try it for yourself here.

There are two tabs for this visualization – New Patients and Established Patients (circled in red) – so that you can easily toggle between the two:

blog_va dashboard 1_new v. existing patients

Then, users can select the type of scheduled appointment (Primary Care, Specialty or Mental Health) and the VISN (Veterans Integrated Service Networks) Regions to view (currently defaulted to all).

blog_va dashboard 2_visn

One of the VA’s initial performance targets was that new patients should wait no longer than 14 days for an appointment. However, the audit revealed that current constraints and lack of resources combined with increasing demand made this target difficult to achieve.  Using the “New Patient Average Wait Times” slider tool to see which facilities have wait times that fall within a time range of one’s choosing, we learn that one facility, Bedford, MA, was the only organization to have a Primary Care New Appointment Time average wait under the 14 day performance target.  (click image to enlarge.)

blog_va dashboard 3_slider

Presenting the data in an easily understood format is a first step in redefining the way that the VA delivers care.

FreemanWhite guides organizations through change, using data to demonstrate that our recommendations will improve productivity and efficiency. Through simulation modeling, process mapping, and dashboard tools we help providers across the country reduce LOS, improve patient outcomes, and streamline operations.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR       David White MBA, LEAN/DFSS Certified
outcome_David White
David White takes a scientific approach to challenging problems, creating analytical tools that provide customized solutions. He specializes in innovative intelligence that helps clients draw meaningful conclusions, with a talent for interactive tools that support decision-making. David develops forecasting instruments that give clients unprecedented insight into ambulatory site selection.

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