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April 30, 2007

im done coming up with creative titles

The last two times i've volunteered here it has been absolutely gorgeous out, so it kind of sucked being stuck in a really cold basement putting packaging meals, but I really didn't mind it that much since it was only for a couple of hours. Also, one of the cooks keeps making really amazing pasta for all of the volunteers so that has been really nice. It's hard to write anything new about my actually activity there since I pretty much do the exact same thing everytime, so I'll answer a question that someone asked me in class when were preparing for our presentations. They asked me if I actually feel like I am making a difference when I am just packing up food--which is a perfectly legitamate question seeing as I never get to see any of the people we actually delieve to. It's really hard to answer because I know I am helping people (even though it is just indirectly) but it's still hard to do without getting that personal touch. One thing that really helps me feel like the work I'm doing is worthwhile is just riding the bus to the orginzation (this is pretty much the basis to my third paper). This is because I get to see the true composition of the community I am helping. What I really like about riding it is how much everyone is different from me and being out of my normal sheltered environment. The bus is commonly populated with african americans, somalians, homeless, teen mothers, people with disabilities, etc. and you really attain a new perspective from being surrounded by so much diversity. So, even though I may not get to see the clients, I still feel like I have some idea of who I'm helping.

April 16, 2007

Flaw #2

Flaw #2 : serious inattention to detail. And I mean serious. Example number one: I will be flipping through a patients chart and one of the pieces of information I'm supposed to find is the person's race. So I'm looking through patient visits, and on one visit the patient will be listed as an black female, on the next she will be white, and the next she'll go back to being black. Strange how that happens huh? Example number 2: Once again flipping through visits, and I come accross someone the doctor describes as an 5-year-old boy. That's perfectly normal...until I come across another one of the same patients visits where there listed as a girl! I mean really, is it that tough to get down the right gender? It really makes me wonder how much attention the physician is giving their client and how much they actually value their health.
Now, that I've made myself sound very cynical about the health care system, let me take the time to say that not every doctor is like that. There are many who document there visits very thoroughly and don't leave out any information. It's just those few who rush through things and don't spend enough time paying attention to the task at hand that make people skeptical of who theyre putting their health in the hands of. Okay. Ranting over.

Flaw #1

So far my partner and I have finished doing asthma audits at two different clinics. As I mentioned before, I am volunteering for a different class as well and last week I had to give a presentation on my experience there. This forced me to reflect on the time I spent at the clinics and draw some conclusions about the health care system as a whole. Flaw #1: illegibility. We worked with paper files at both of the clinics which has both its advantages and drawbacks. I didn't know this going into volunteering, but each time you go in for a visit the doctor, they write down pretty much everything that happened including symptoms you described, how your feeling, how you got a long with anyone you came with, etc....so they could write 'so and so seemed distracted today' or whatever. i kind of found myself wondering what my doctors wrote about me. Anways, back to my point. So these patient visits are where we find the bulk of the information that we need and they're typed out so thats really nice. However, things like over the phone consultations and medication refill requests are all handwritten-I'd say over 50 percent of the time you have absolutely no idea what the doctor is writing. It pretty much looks like scribbles...and that just kills me. I mean, if the doctor took like 3 more seconds just to go a little slower, you would be able to read it just fine. Otherwise, if it's illegible, why even have it? It really has no value if no one can even read it. Hopefully this problem will soon be eliminated though since both of the clinics are converting there paperfile to electronic files really soon. It's gonna take a loooooooong time but I think it will be worth it in the long run. I'm gonna list flaw #2 in my next entry so I can split this up into two...so read on if you find this remotely interesting