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

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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).

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