Every Thursday we host a medical clinic in the one room town hall in the center of Armenia Bonito. It has no electricity, running water or toilets. It has a tin roof and cinder block walls. Often times buses, a herd of cattle or screaming kids make it hard to hear. But, we try to strike a balance between a healthy level of service and providing quality care. We want to see everyone, but the reality is we must turn some people away each day because we do not have the time and resources we need. One of the biggest culprits is light. Because we have no lights in the building we must be packed and ready to go before sunset (5:45pm).
We regularly change the way we do things to try and improve our speed and quality and maintain dignity for the people being served. Sometimes we rearrange the location of the stations, our individual duties or our admittance process.
On Thursday we believe we improved the system by adding numbers to the admittance process. We opened at 11am. When a patient was checked in they had their vitals taken (blood pressure, blood sugar, etc.). This information along with their name, complaint, and age were written down on a number from 1 to 50. When we handed out number 50 (at about 1pm) we took no more admissions.
It seemed to go relatively smooth. We saw over 50 people in a six-hour clinic. We had to turn away 15-20 people, but at least they were turned away immediately and didn’t have to wait 4 hours to not be seen. Our team was even able to take a 10-minute break to eat a sandwich.
We act, learn and evolve. It is a daily process