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Descriptive Clinical Informatics in NCNM Clinics

Principal Investigator: Erica Oberg, ND, MPH

Administrative data from practice management software systems from the main teaching clinics of 4 of the 8 North American naturopathic academic institutions were abstracted into an integrated database containing 5 years (2006-2010) of visit, patient, laboratory and prescribing data. Descriptive analyses of healthcare services were compared to the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS). Over the five-year period, 300,483 patient visits occurred at the 4 clinics. Comparing these naturopathic clinics to national conventional primary care  practice (NAMCS), patients paying out of pocket was higher (50 percent vs. 4 percent), naturopathic clinics more frequently offered discounted care (26 percent vs. 0.3 percent) and there was a 32 percent overlap in the top 25 primary care diagnoses. Healthcare delivery at the clinics suggests the undergraduate clinical educational experience of naturopathic medical students  prepares them for primary care in the larger healthcare system.