Development of a primary care physician task list to evaluate clinic visit workflow

Journal Name: 
BMJ Qual Saf
BACKGROUND: Interventions designed to improve the delivery of primary care, including Patient-Centered Medical Homes and electronic health records, require an understanding of clinical workflow to be successfully implemented. However, there is a lack of tools to describe and study primary care physician workflow. We developed a comprehensive list of primary care physician tasks that occur during a face-to-face patient visit. METHODS: A validated list of tasks performed by primary care physicians during patient clinic visits was developed from a secondary data analysis of observation data from two studies evaluating primary care workflow. Thirty primary care physicians participated from a convenience sample of 17 internal medicine and family medicine clinics in Wisconsin and Iowa across rural and urban settings and community and academic settings. RESULTS: The final task list has 12 major tasks, 189 subtasks, and 191 total tasks. The major tasks are: Enter Room, Gather Information from Patient, Review Patient Information, Document Patient Information, Perform, Recommend / Discuss Treatment Options, Look Up, Order, Communicate, Print / Give Patient (advice, instructions), Appointment Wrap-up, and Leave Room. Additional subcodes note use of paper or EHR and the presence of a caregiver or medical student. CONCLUSIONS: The task list presented here is a tool that will help clinics study their workflows so they can plan for changes that will take place because of EHR implementation and/or transformation to a patient centered medical home
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