Serving with You’ns in the Hollow: A West Virginian Odyssey (Part III)

“Only a true West Virginian knows exactly how long ‘directly’ is – as in: ‘Going to town, be back directly’. Only a true West Virginian grows up knowing the difference between ‘rightnear’ and ‘a far right piece’, and also that ‘just down the road’ can be one mile or twenty.”

– Unknown


Collect, Enter, Put it all Together:

Through the second week of our experience in this community, we wade and sift through virtual pools of information, with progress toward the end of our data collection for our quality improvement project.

Cabin Creek Health Systems (CCHS) felt it a worthy endeavor to investigate potential drivers of no-shows for scheduled appointments within their Patient Centered Medicaid Medical Home population, a group of ~480. We chose a specific subset within that sample and got to work.

After several nights of tireless chart review, we were hopeful and excited that with a little help from our resident data wizards (thank you S & A), we might be able to offer CCHS some significance to work with and advance their understanding of and response to the needs of complex clients.

The providers and staff could not have been more grateful for the work that we put in on the project. One veteran provider from Cabin Creek even referred to our cohort as “The QI SWAT Team”, which put many smiles on our faces.


Parting and Thanking:

Thursday marked the end of our stretch shadowing the providers at our respective clinics. With several thanks and goodbyes, we had an opportunity to reflect on what had been most valuable and essential to us through this unique experience.

Several stories were shared and all centered around a few key concepts and values:

  • Rural West Virginians face transcultural health disparities and health literacy issues. Much of the educational and resource shortages faced in international sites are being faced right here at home
  • Shadowing providers of different backgrounds, disciplines, and philosophies provided an opportunity for introspection and development of our own core values, philosophies, and care priorities and future practitioners.
  • Observing the daily administration and operation of primary care  in a rural setting was not something we’d been exposed to previously, and honed our understanding of the grand successes and unfortunate shortcomings associated with people determined to make the best of limited resources.
  • Rural healthcare with limited resources did not bind this community or health system to lower standards of care, but rather fostered progressive thinking and attitudes to quality improvement and patient-centered systems and practices.
  • This was an amazing experience, and while a lot of work, a whole lot of fun.
Cabin Creek Health Center


Administrative Offices, Miami, WV

The QI SWAT Team Goes on a Trip:

To clear our heads, and observe more of the landscape that defines the beauty of this wonderful state, the group took a brief excursion to New River Gorge. A beautiful area of lush, rolling mountains, an historic bridge, and walking trails, New River Gorge is a perfect exemplar of what West Virginia is by geography.


The Group at NRG


There will be a final entry in this blog series about reflections. Until then!

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