This ongoing research project seeks to understand the current state of chronic disease treatment and control in Chile, and to evaluate the health impacts of an at-scale appointment reminder program among Chile’s public healthcare users. This summer I was based on the Primary Care Division of Chile’s Ministry of Health in Santiago (MINSAL DIVAP). During the month I spent there, I worked with local researchers to access and clean the four large datasets we will use in this impact evaluation: electronic health records from primary care appointments, medication prescription and withdrawal data, emergency room records, and data on SMS reminders sent and received. In addition, the evaluation team – myself, DIVAP, and collaborators at La Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile public policy school – worked to create an evaluation plan, and formalize study outcome definitions. This summer I (re)learned to be patient when working “in the field”, despite being based out of a well-functioning ministry of health office. As is always the case, something that seemed achievable in five weeks – transferring four already collected datasets from the ministry to my server – was highly time consuming and is still ongoing in early September! Still, the analysis plan we created is very exciting, and the results of this study will be used to directly inform decisions at Chile’s Ministry of Health.
August 27, 2019