The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) releases a new Access and Quality Tool, which is designed as a way to help access patient wait time and quality of care data.

The goal of this reportedly first-of-its-kind tool is to provide veterans with more information about VA services, increase accountability, and ensure VA is held to a higher standard.

“Veterans must have access to information that is clear and understandable to make informed decisions about their health care,” says Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr David J. Shulkin, in a media release from the VA.

The tool’s features include the ability to access the average wait times in one’s local area, descriptions of scheduling experiences at specific VA facilities, timeliness of appointments that are needed right away, and the quality of the health care delivered at VA medical centers compared with local private-sector hospitals.

“This tool is another example of VA leading the way,” states Acting Under Secretary for Health Dr Poonam Alaigh, in the release. “This tool will instill a spirit of competition and encourage our medical facilities to proactively address access and quality issues while empowering veterans to make choices according to what works best for them and their families.”

[Source: Department of Veterans Affairs]