The first Improving PrimAry Care Through Industrial and Systems Engineering (I-PraCTISE) conference was held at Union South at the University of Wisconsin - Madison in April of 2013. It was funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and co-sponsored by the UW - Madison Departments of Family Medicine and Industrial and Systems Engineering. A key objective of the first I-PrACTISE conference was to develop a cross-disciplinary research agenda, bringing together engineers and physicians.

I helped to organize themes from across the conference and created this paper to summarize our findings.


Primary healthcare is in critical condition with too few students selecting careers, multiple competing demands stressing clinicians, and increasing numbers of elderly patients with multiple health problems. The potential for transdisciplinary research using Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) approaches and methods to study and improve the quality and efficiency of primary care is increasingly recognized. To accelerate the development and application of this research, the National Collaborative to Improve Primary Care through Industrial and Systems Engineering (I-PrACTISE) sponsored an invitational conference in April, 2013 which brought together experts in primary care and ISyE. Seven workgroups were formed, organized around the principles of the Patient Centered Medical Home: Team-Based Care, Coordination and Integration, Health Information Technology (HIT) – Registries and Exchanges, HIT – Clinical Decision Support and Electronic Health Records, Patient Engagement, Access and Scheduling, and Addressing All Health Needs. These groups: (A) Explored critical issues from a primary care perspective and ISyE tools and methods that could address these issues; (B) Generated potential research questions; and (C) Described methods and resources, including other collaborations, needed to conduct this research.

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