My Chronic Disease Survey

I had to do a survey for my math class, so I decided to do something interesting to me. 🙂 Here is my output, and I would love to hear what you think about the data. Are you surprised by anything? Do you think the sample is representative of a bigger population?

Introduction:
The goal of the survey is to determine how having a chronic disease affects the use of medications, tracking between visits, number of visits to the doctor annually, and the overall perception of the healthcare system. Does chronic disease alter the healthcare experience?

Methodology:
Participants will be recruited through email and twitter and will be asked to complete a six question online survey using the SurveyMonkey survey tool. The recruiting process will continue until 10 days or until at least 75 people have responded. The survey first went out on November 3, 2014, and these results were finalized on November 17, 2014. The questions are multiple-choice questions with an option to write in a additional response on two of the six questions.

The questions are:
1. Do you have a chronic disease?
2. How many medications do you take regularly each day?
3. How many medications do you take on an as needed basis (only when you need them)?
4. What types of information do you track regularly?
5. How would you rate your satisfaction with the healthcare system as a whole?
6. How many times do you go to the doctor a year?

Results:
Overall, 118 participants responded to the survey. 52.99% or 62 respondents said that they have a chronic disease.

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For the remaining five questions, the results are shown below where “yes” means the participant answered that they have a chronic disease, “no” means that the participant answered that they did not have a chronic disease, and “Not sure” means that the participant answered that they did not know if they had a chronic disease.

Question 2: How many medications do you take regularly each day?

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Question 3: How many medications do you take on an as needed basis (only when you need them)?

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Question 4: What types of information do you track regularly?

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Other Responses:
Yes: Mood, Cough frequency, Thyroid, Potassium, Salt, Calories, Food, Steps, Thyroid, Exercise, O2 stats, acid levls in blood, kidney calcifications, Drink, TSH, BUN, Creatinine, CBC, Phosphorus, Calcium, Height
No: Steps, Cholesterol, Body Fat, Heart Rate
Not Sure: B12

Question 5: How would you rate your satisfaction with the healthcare system as a whole?

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Question 6: How many times do you go to the doctor a year?
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Discussion:
The percentage of respondents who said they had a chronic disease was 53%%. According to the Center for Disease Control, about half of US adults have a chronic disease, so this result was as expected. I compared the results of the participants who said they had a chronic disease to those who said they did not or did not know. I was surprised that 12.5% said they did not know if they had a chronic disease.

As expected, people with chronic diseases took more medications more often than those who did not have a chronic disease. 90% of the chronic disease participants took at least one regular medication each day, but only 49% of the non-chronics and 63% of those not sure if they are chronic took at least one medication each day. It was also noted that 19% of chronics took 9 or more medications each day, and none of the non-chronics or not sure group took 9 or more.

As expected, the chronic patients took more as needed medications than the other groups. When asked how many medications were taken on an as needed basis, the chronic disease population took medications on an as needed basis 89% of the time compared to 66% for the non-chronics and 63% of those who didn’t know if they had chronic disease. It was interesting that none of the groups took more than 5 as needed medications on a regular basis, and the non-chronic group either took non or 1-2 as needed medications. 38% of the not sure group took 3 – 5 as needed medications regularly while only 16% of the chronic group did.

When asked about information that is tracked regularly, weight was tracked close to 50% of the time in each group and was the most commonly tracked item. Also, blood pressure was tracked about 25% of the time in all three groups. As expected, the chronic group tracked most often with 90% of them tracking at least one item compared to 60% of the non-chronics. Surprisingly, 62% of the not sure group tracked regularly. In the chronic group, pain and symptoms were tracked about half of the time in the chronic group but not very often or at all in the other groups.

When asked about overall satisfaction in the healthcare system, I was surprised to not see a huge difference between the chronics and non-chronics. The responses were fairly similar with slightly more of the chronics being somewhat satisfied when compared to the non-chonics and slightly more non-chronics being somewhat dissatisfied than the chronics. The most surprising group to me was the not sure group who had 0% very satisfied or somewhat satisfied, and a whopping 37.5% very unsatisfied.

When asked how often they went to the doctor, it was not surprising that the chronics went more often than the non-chronics, but it was surprising to me that 25% of the chronics went more than 13 times a year and that 68% of the non-chronics went to the doctor only 1 – 2 times a year.

My hypothesis was actually that chronic disease patients would have a more negative view of the healthcare system, and that was not found in the data. The group that isn’t sure about having a chronic disease seems to be the group with the least favorable view, and non-chronics seemed to have a slightly worse view than the chronics. I would love to learn more about the not sure group to see if they are undiagnosed patients which might explain their higher medication usage, tracking behavior, and visits to the doctor.

2 thoughts on “My Chronic Disease Survey

  1. jannaassb says:

    Well done, your survey has shown up a few interesting facts. As for the don’t know, regarding having a chronic illness, a lot of folk don’t know, if their rumbling never to go away problem is actually chronic or just part of aging, etc And is a congenital problem chronic??? So that would certainly give you another survey in the future, what do folk think chronic is. and then match that with the official ideal. Hope you get an A++ or excellent grade

    Like

  2. Nicely done, Morgan. Probably would have skewed your data a bit had I taken your survey. Having lived with chronic pain for decades, I no longer go to doctors and opt for acupuncture over meds whenever possible. I do think this has something to do with the long-time nature of my chronic pain.

    If you do another survey, you might want to ask for how long someone has dealt with chronic pain because that might reveal an intervening variable relative to using meds and seeing docs.

    Agree with jannaassb: A++

    Like

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