The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality is again asking for public comments as it prepares a study to assess the relationship between health information technology implementation and health care workflows in six ambulatory practices becoming medical homes.

The agency published a notice of its intentions in January and received no comments. It has republished the notice with a new 30-day comment period.

The study of small and medium-sized practices will focus on behavioral and organizational factors that influence disruptive events. The AHRQ is seeking comments about the methodology and goals it has established for the study. The agency already has chosen six practices to take part in the study.

“Unfortunately, health I.T. systems can fail to generate anticipated results and even carry unintended consequences which undermine usability and usefulness,” the agency notes. “Directly or indirectly, health I.T. may create more work, new work, excessive systems demands, or inefficient workflow (the sequence of clinical tasks). Electronic reminders and alerts may be timed poorly. Software may require excessive switching between screens, leading to cognitive distractions for end users. Providers may spend more time on health I.T.-related tasks than on direct patient care.”

Billings Clinic will conduct the study under contract with AHRQ.

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