The Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Engineering, National Research Council, and workshops funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the National Science Foundation have all concluded and recommended that collaborations between industrial and systems engineers (ISYE), health services and clinical and translational researchers, and practicing clinicians are needed to improve healthcare quality and safety. We plan to accelerate these collaborations, and do so specifically in primary care, with a small conference. The conference will develop a research agenda, and identify strategies and mechanisms for studying them, for advancing primary care practice through the collaboration of primary care practitioners and researchers with ISYE researchers. We focus on primary care for five reasons. First, primary care is essential to the health of a country's citizens. All US citizens, especially priority populations, may benefit from our long- term objectives. Second, it is widely accepted that primary care professionals have too much to do in too little time. Third, the cognitive complexity in primary care from high levels of coordination, information need, and information seeking is vastly underappreciated. Fourth, it is perhaps because of these realities that fewer medical students are going into primary care. Fifth, there is already a desire to re-engineer primary care by implementing the "patient-centered medical home" model. In summary, evidence suggests that primary care in the US is in need of radical change to address the US heath care needs. Our conference will convene nationally recognized experts from ISYE and primary care to develop a research agenda to promote primary care practice transformation to meet current and future US healthcare challenges. Because the conference will build a research agenda for primary care broadly, and not in one particular area (e.g. electronic health record design) it is likely that all AHRQ portfoio areas will be addressed. We are applying to AHRQ for funding to: 1) create conference announcement activities and offer travel reimbursement to attract national experts;2) develop and implement our deliverables and post-conference dissemination activities;and 3) conduct conference impact evaluation to improve future conferences.
The 2013 Improving Primary Care Through Industrial and Systems Engineering (I-PrACTISE) Conference will bring together experts in industrial and systems engineering and primary care in order to identify unique challenges in primary care and develop a research agenda to address them. Because of the focus on primary care, all US citizens, especially priority populations, may benefit.