October and November Research Updates

Nov 26, 2018 | 5 minutes read
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It’s been a hot mess since October, so I’m finally getting around to giving a research update since things have simmered down. Since it’s almost December, I might as well just pair up October and November into one post.

October Research Update

I told my advisor I will have manuscript done by Halloween and that I did. Well actually November 1st in the am, but all that matters is that I turned it in. 😆 The first manuscript was a comparison of different data sources on hospital performance. I looked at VA data on hospital performance along with Google reviews and Facebook reviews to see if there is any correlation between patient satisfaction and other hospital performance metrics such as wait times in making and completing appointments. In addition, I aggregated and mapped the hospital performance data by Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) and by VA medical facility to see how patient satisfaction varied geographically. I feel like I should include a map, and give some explanation on the trends on that map but I will just wait until I get feedback from my advisor on manuscript #1 before I post anything 😉.

I have also been conducting interviews with women veterans all throughout this month and I am gaining more insights about their experiences and needs. I have really been enjoying the conversations and appreciate them (cannot say that enough) taking time out of their day to do an interview with me. Based on the interviews, the most commonly expressed health and wellness needs were resources related to mental health, women’s health, and pain management. This is pretty much consistent with what I have read on women veteran’s health care needs.

I will combine what I learned in the interviews and the results of the first and second manuscripts into a prototype of an app that women veterans can use to identify health and wellness resources available to them along with getting information on the performance and accessibility of VA hospitals and other health providers. I will also include information about women veteran support groups since different groups provide assistance to different needs. Since I’m under a time constraint, most of the information will just be with one area right now which is San Antonio(but I will list all of the women veteran support groups regardless of geographic region). I have been in contact with the president of the Women Veterans of San Antonio so I plan to do a visit next year in April to show her the prototype of the app. When I graduate, I will continue build upon the app with the eventual goal of national coverage. I know this will take a lot of work and time (and more people…so if you are interested in helping, drop me a line 😬), but I will put in the work to get the work done!

November Research Update

I am still doing interviews, but I will be finished with all the interviews by December 3rd. I won’t be around for half of the month, but I will touch base with some participants who were interested in doing an interview but had a time conflict once I come back in town. Pretty much I plan to wrap up this phase by the end of the year. I also have been in contact with the Women Veterans Program Manager of the Texas Veterans Commission. I plan on meeting her while I’m down in Texas to show her my app prototype and venues in which I can showcase it. Right now, the only plan at the moment is to showcase the app is at a women veterans conference next September. I also will try to throw my hat in the ring and submit an abstract to the useR! conference which takes place next July. That means I need to get a prototype of the app done by March 1(or a few days before so I have some time to work on the abstract 😊). That would give me a good month to tweak it before my trip to Texas.

I should have been working on my second manuscript, but things have been hectic. The second manuscript will center around spatial accessibility of women veterans to various types of health facilities. Based on the lit review and interviews, I have narrowed it down to three types of facilities, but I won’t spill the beans yet. I wanted to purchase the AMA Masterfile, which is a list of all physicians, but it seems like getting it is more trouble than what it’s worth. I’m going to have to use those internet sleuthing skills and get information about the clinics. Right now, I have only collected the names of the clinics that are part of the Veterans Choice program, which is a program in which veterans can receive health care at a nearby clinic if they live too far from a VA hospital or clinic or if the VA cannot provide the specific care that is needed in a timely manner.

I was going to try to finish manuscript #2 by the end of December, but that’s not going to happen…so it’s been pushed back to the end of January.

Anyway that is it for now. I think December is going to be a slow month research-wise given the break but I’m going to try to carve out some time everyday to do some work while I’m away(the rhyme was unplanned 😂). The plan is to analyze the interviews and see what common threads exist in each of the interviews. Once I do that, I can start coding away and start building this app come January 2019!

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