Recently I had access to some basic (read as non-identifying, HIPAA) information off of a clinic’s visit information from Diabetes patients. The data was limited to age, sex and number of visits per patient. I didn’t really expect to find anything of interest given the limited amount of information, but I was just excited at the prospect of playing with some EMR information. So here it goes. Straightforward pie chart of sex distribution in visits of all types of Diabetes, though an overwhelming majority were type II.

According to Epocrates 35% of all women and 30% of all men will be diagnosed in their lifetime. This would be a 45:55 ratio. However, I’ve found a number of publications suggesting the opposite, for instance Bruno et. al. (2005 Diabetes Care) suggest a male to female ration of more than 2:1. No matter the reference I found, they were never close to the female to male ratio of 2:1 this chart suggests. The synthesis of this is simple, women are much more likely to see a physician to monitor their care.

Second, is the distribution of how many repeat visits patients were making.

One can see in this chart, the answer is not very many, considering patients are recommended to regularly visit their physician in order to closely monitor the condition. 2 or 3 times pales in comparison to what would constitute the recommended 4 times a year.

Finally, and most interesting to me, was the effect age had on the number of visits a patient made.

There seems to be a peak around 65-70, which incidentally (?) is near life expectancy for a developed country. Despite this, I’m not sure how this would effect this graph. My thinking is that since patients accrue visits over time, the older the patient the more vsits they have accrued. So, the general increase over time is logical, what the invert means, I am not sure. I am going to hypothesize that older folks have more important things to see their physicians about later in life. Thoughts?

These charts may not have a sizzle, but they suggest what a lot of Family Physicians and many other countries already know. We don’t see our doctors enough, for one reason or another. Regular care prevents the more expensive care down the road and looking at patient trends can help us find the demographics that need encouragement to reach the end goal of preventative care for all.