Missed Opportunities for Patient Education and Social Worker Consultation at The Arbor Free Clinic

We conducted a cross-sectional survey of 210 patients who came to a free medical clinic for health care over an 8-month period. We (1) measured their satisfaction with care, (2) determined the frequency of missed opportunities for providing health education and social work consultation, and (3) assessed whether patient-specific factors drive the frequency of these missed opportunities. Of the 210 patients surveyed, a total of 168 (80.0%) completed the entire survey. The mean satisfaction rating was high (4.6 on a scale of 1 to 5). A significant number of missed opportunities occurred, with only 28% of patients receiving patient education material, and 32% of patients visiting the social worker. No particular patient groups emerged as most susceptible to these missed opportunities. This study shows both the high degree of patient satisfaction at this free clinic and the many opportunities for improving patient education and social services. Adding health education and social work consultation to the patient encounter could improve the health of these patients.