Agency will study health IT workflow
Doctors must make changes to adopt health IT
- By Alice Lipowicz
- Jul 02, 2009
The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality will study how
physician practices’ workflows are affected by adopting health
The agency is requesting comment for its study of the tools and
methods used by small and medium-sized practices in redesigning the
doctors' workflows to incorporate digital information and electronic
health records, according to a request for information notice in the Federal Register.
Workflow is defined as the way work is performed and
patient-related information is communicated. For example, if a doctor’s
office begins using e-prescribing or clinical decision support software
to replace paperwork, presumably it would change the way patient
records are originated, stored and distributed within the office and to
The agency said few standards are available in this arena.
“It is our understanding that there is currently no standard
description of workflows for care processes that can be used to guide
decisions of where and how to incorporate health information
technology,” the notice published June 25 states.
The findings of the study will be incorporated in an “electronic
toolkit” to be made available on the Internet to help doctors
analyze how to adapt their workflows and practices to make the best use
of health IT.
Comments are due Aug. 24.
The Health and Human Services Department currently is preparing
to write regulations for defining meaningful use of health IT, which are expected by year’s
end. The economic stimulus law provides billions of dollars in payments
to doctors and hospitals who can demonstrate such meaningful use.
Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.