Health IT Pulse

Feb 1 2013   2:38PM GMT

AHRQ to study ambulatory workflow, seeks public opinion

EmilyHuizenga Profile: EmilyHuizenga


The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) seeks public comment on its plans to study how health IT initiatives like HIE, EHRs and clinical decision support in outpatient care practices affect their transition to patient-centered medical homes (PCMH). Commenters have until March 29 to weigh in on whether or not they think the study will collect useful data, as well as to suggest better means of quantifying how health IT changes care ambulatory workflow.

Researchers expect the long-term (36-month), $800,000 study to run from June 1 of this year through May of 2015.

Titled “Applying Novel Methods to Better Understand the Relationship Between Health IT and Ambulatory Care Workflow Redesign,” the study aims to garner information from interviews and focus groups with clinical, non-clinical and management staff from six ambulatory care practices, all of which are in the process of implementing new technology intended to improve patient data flow among providers.

In its Federal Register posting, AHRQ said that health IT systems in ambulatory care necessitate study because the field is full of unpredictable and yet frequently occurring events deviating from normal practices. Unless used effectively, technology can fail to generate anticipated results and – at worst – carry consequences that undermine usability and usefulness.

“Directly or indirectly, health IT may create more work, new work, excessive system demands, or inefficient workflow,” the Federal Register posting said. “Because of adverse, unintended and disruptive consequences, developing an understanding of how health IT implementation alters clinical work processes and workflow is crucial.”

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