Staffing innovation secrets to share? Study tackles primary care workforce management

March 14, 2012

If your creative workforce solutions could help other practices, consider participating in a national research project on the subject. There?s something in it for you.

Do you have a creative solution for managing your clinical support staff? You might be featured in a nationwide primary care study looking at how practices and outpatient clinics direct their nurses and other clinical assistants.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has partnered with the Group Health Research Institute on a research project titled, “The Primary Care Team: Learning from Effective Ambulatory Practices” (the LEAP Project). The project will identify primary care practices that use health professionals in ways that efficiently maximize patient access to their services, so these workforce models can be replicated and adopted more widely, according to a statement from the organizations.

Researchers will be studying approximately 30 organizations, from small practices to outpatient offices within large integrated health systems, RWJF Senior Program Officer Maryjoan Ladden tells Medical Economics’ eConsult.

“We’re looking for creative solutions that can be applied to many different types of settings,” she says. “We’ll be looking at process, quality, reimbursement and how they get things paid for.”

Participants will be awarded an honorarium for the site visits. The organization declined to reveal the amount.

The MacColl Center for Health Care Innovation at Group Health Research Institute in Seattle, Washington will serve as the project’s national office. A research team will conduct site visits, which will take about two days each, Ladden says. The sites then will share their best staffing techniques and distill their innovations into a toolkit that can be used by other practices and clinics.

Ladden says the project’s leaders hope to continue the research by studying the practices that incorporate the toolkit’s instructions.

All of the project’s research sites have been chosen after an extensive search. Sites will be announced this spring or summer.

The toolkit will be available through a free download in the spring or summer of 2014 at the RWJF Web site, according to Ladden.

Correction:This story has been modified to reflect that enrollment for this study has already closed.

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