Our data collection involved reviewing and analyzing the demographics of about 6000 patients that attended all 16 primary care clinics in the Coto Brus canton. I learned so much about Excel and data collection than I ever thought I would. Our group would be up late just analyzing data and organizing it with pivot tables and statistical analysis. I started to develop an interest in computer science! But, I had the most fun when we visited four clinics to collect data from patients for their chronic disease history. It was interesting to see how most patient records were not digitized. We also got to meet ATAPs, or community health care workers. ATAPs are responsible for making primary care home visits. I was so amazed because the ATAPs knew every single one of their patients by name, and where they lived! When we asked for patient records, they just pulled the files out like it was nothing. We even traveled to the clinics with one of our professors, Dr. Nicolas Lopez. He gave us insight into the Costa Rican health care system as a practicing physician. We had a great time just bonding and learning about his love for pizza!
The primary care system, although impressive, needs modernization to reduce this frequent user dilemma. I hope that our research can be made available to the social security system of Costa Rica and health care workers so that cost effective interventions can be institutionalized. I look forward to sharing my research to my professor and friends and Smith.