Data Management and Technology Avoidance in a Free Clinic

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Capturing and presenting high-quality data can be challenging for free clinics due to lack of resources and technology avoidance. If free clinics are unable to present impactful data to current and potential donors, this may limit funding and restrict care

Capturing and presenting high-quality data can be challenging for free clinics due to lack of resources and technology avoidance. If free clinics are unable to present impactful data to current and potential donors, this may limit funding and restrict care provided to underserved and vulnerable populations. The following is a quality improvement project which addresses utilization of information systems within a free clinic. For one month, volunteer providers completed appointment summary forms for each patient seen in the clinic. Electronic form submissions (E=110) were compared to paper form submissions (P=196), with quality of data determined by form completeness scores. Welch’s t-test was used to determine statistical significance between electronic and paper form completeness scores (E=9.7, P=8.5) (p < .001). Findings suggest that utilization of electronic data collection tools within a free clinic produce more complete and accurate data. Barriers associated with technology utilization in this under-resourced environment were substantial. Findings related to overcoming some of these barriers may be useful for future exploration of health information technology utilization in under-resourced and technology avoidant settings. Results warrant future investigation of the relationship between quality of free clinic data, information management systems, provider willingness to utilize technology and funding opportunities in free clinics.