Finish and Conclusions

While deeper statistical analyses of patient information and timesheets are still ongoing into the future, I can draw some general conclusions from the experiences I had and the data gathered.

  1. Patient visits are taking too long. This is a product of practitioner shortages, administrative shortages, and static patient scheduling. Apart from hiring more doctors and secretaries, patient visits could be shortened if variable scheduling was introduced, where patient visits are scheduled from an estimation to be different times based on the reason for the visit, rather than making each 15 minutes long. The length of visits is forcing patients to miss half a day of work for a visit and many do not have reliable transport to and from OTMC.

 

  1. BMI has a high correlation with out of control diabetes. While BMI is often not seen as truly representing a person’s body (because it doesn’t take muscle mass into account), the correlation is clear. The harsh reality of the society we live in is that very few individuals have enough muscle mass to alter their BMI greatly and that excess weight is most often fat.

 

  1. From a secondary analysis of sources, I found that diabetes is a greater issue in both urban low income areas as well as rural low income areas (the area OTMC serves is considered rural low income). Many studies cited the convenience of fast food, the lack of transportation to grocery stores, and a dearth of fresh produce as reasons why the prevalence of diabetes is higher in both urban and rural low income areas.

 

  1. As the demographics of our population continue to change, Spanish translators who can understand tones and phrases used by Mexican, Salvadorian, and Nicaraguan speakers will be extremely important in the success of free and low income health clinics. Because of the lack and variability of volunteer translators many clinics, including OTMC, have had to tell patients who cannot speak English that they must come with someone who can translate for them.