While questionnaires have been developed to capture patient-reported outcomes (PROs) in rheumatology practice, these instruments are not widely used. We developed a touchscreen interface designed to provide reliable and efficient data collection. Using the touchscreen to obtain PROs, we compared 2 different workflow models implemented separately in 2 rheumatology clinics.
The Plan-Do-Study-Act methodology was used in 2 cycles of workflow redesign. Cycle 1 relied on off-the-shelf questionnaire builder software, and cycle 2 relied on a custom programmed software solution.
During cycle 1, clinic 1 (private practice model, resource replete, simple flow) demonstrated a high completion rate at the start, averaging between 74% and 92% for the first 12 weeks. Clinic 2 (academic model, resource deficient, complex flow) did not achieve a consistent completion rate above 60%. The revised cycle 2 implementation protocol incorporated a 15-minute “nurse visit,” an instant messaging system, and a streamlined authentication process, all of which contributed to substantial improvement in touchscreen questionnaire completion rates of ∼80% that were sustained without the need for any additional clinic staff support.
Process redesign techniques and touchscreen technology were used to develop a highly successful, efficient, and effective process for the routine collection of PROs in a busy, complex, and resource-depleted academic practice and in typical private practice. The successful implementation required both a touchscreen questionnaire, human behavioral redesign, and other technical solutions.