Assessing the timeliness of ambulatory medical care

Am J Public Health. 1978 Jun;68(6):547-56. doi: 10.2105/ajph.68.6.547.


The extent to which individuals receive necessary and timely care (timeliness) is one dimension of the process of care that has received little attention. Timeliness can be viewed as the interaction between patient care-seeking behavior and system accessibility,both of which are expected to influence the effectiveness of medical care. This study examines the provider's assessment of the timeliness of care received in the department of medicine of a prepaid program. Provider judgments are found to be significantly related to the provider's perception of problem severity and to the patient's prognosis. Anaylsis of patient-reported problem status one week later are also found to be related to the timeliness of care. Implications of timeliness assessments for monitoring and improving access and care-seeking behavior are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care*
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Major Medical
  • Maryland
  • Morbidity
  • Prognosis
  • Time Factors