Access and Utilization of New Antidepressant and Antipsychotic Medications. Chapter III. Defining Access and Utilization


The United States Department of Health and Human Services charged The Lewin Group with the task of elucidating the mechanisms that affect the extent to which Americans receive the most up-to-date pharmacotherapies for the treatment of mental illness. In examining this problem, we determined that this question is made up of two separate components that work together to affect whether a particular drug is used widely in the health care system. These two components may be described as Access and Utilization. Access refers to structural issues (e.g. coverage and benefit) within the health care benefit system that determine whether a health care service is available for use. Utilization is a more subjective concept and reflects the degree to which services that are available are actually used by the consumer. In turn, each of these components is influenced by several factors.