Variations in appointment delays for physicians' services: Theory and empirical evidence
Waiting times for physician appointments have been used in past studies as a measure of access to, or excess demand pressure on, local ambulatory care systems. This paper offers an alternative view-that short appointment delays are one of several types of amenities produced by physicians in combination with health services. Empirical evidence is presented that illuminates some previously unknown relationships between appointment delays, patient diagnosis, site of care, and family income. A model is developed with the capability of predicting short-run responses to changes in demand for physicians' services. The model and empirical evidence are used as the basis for interpreting recent experience in Canada with its system of national health insurance (NHI) and for predicting potential consequences regarding the production of amenities of NHI in the US. © 1978 Elsevier Scientific Publishing Company.
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