AHRQ Aims To Study How Health IT Affects Work Flow in Clinics


The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality plans to study how health IT implementation affects work flow in primary care clinics, according to a notice published Wednesday in the Federal Register, Health Data Management reports (Goedert, Health Data Management, 10/30).

Study Details

If the Office of Management and Budget approves the project, researchers from RTI International -- an AHRQ contractor -- will study six clinics affiliated with Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The clinics all will be at different levels of electronic health record implementation.

During a 14-month period, researchers will:

  • Conduct baseline interviews with up to 10 clinical staffers at each site;
  • Interview staffers at each clinic again after one year;
  • Interview up to 64 patients in total;
  • Conduct mid-year staff interviews at two clinics; and
  • Collect "spatial data," such as photographs of how health IT systems are laid out in the clinic.

The study is estimated to cost slightly less than $800,000 (Conn, Modern Healthcare, 10/30).

Project Goals

The study aims to help researchers better understand how:

  • Health IT-enabled care coordination affects work flow in small community-based clinics; and
  • How health IT-related "enablers and barriers to care coordination" affect care for patients with diabetes (Murphy, EHR Intelligence, 10/30).

AHRQ said the project could help it identify:

  • Work flow components that ambulatory practices should consider while implementing health IT systems; and
  • Issues that should be considered during the design and evaluation of health IT tools (Modern Healthcare, 10/30).

to share your thoughts on this article.