A Work Sampling Study of Provider Activities in School-Based Health Centers

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ABSTRACT Background: 

The purpose of this study was to describe provider activities in a convenience sample of School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs). The goal was to determine the relative proportion of time that clinic staff engaged in various patient care and non-patient care activities. Methods: 

All provider staff at 4 urban SBHCs participated in this study; 2 were in elementary schools, 1 in a middle school, and 1 in a school with kindergarten through grade 8. The study examined provider activity from 6 days sampled at random from the school year. Participants were asked to document their activities in 15-minute intervals from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. A structured recording form was used that included 35 activity categories. Results: 

Overall, 1492 records were completed, accounting for 2708 coded activities. Almost half (48%) of all staff activities were coded as direct patient contact, with clinic operations the second largest category. Limited variations in activities were found across clinic sites and according to season. Conclusions: 

A significant amount of provider activity was directed at the delivery of health care; direct patient care and clinic operations combined accounted for approximately 75% of clinic activity. Patient, classroom, and group education activities, as well as contacts with parents and school staff accounted for 20% of all clinic activity and represent important SBHC functions that other productivity measures such as billing data might not consistently track. Overall, the method was acceptable to professional staff as a means of tracking activity and was adaptable to meet their needs.

Keywords: child and adolescent health; evaluation; school-based clinics

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1746-1561.2009.00408.x

Affiliations: 1: Senior Project Coordinator, ( ), School-Based and Community Health Program, Henry Ford Health System, 1 Ford Place, Detroit, MI 48202-3450., Email: rpearso1@hfhs.org 2: Associate Professor, ( ), Office of Medical Education Research and Development, A206 East Fee Hall, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1316., Email: ckeefe@msu.edu

Publication date: June 1, 2009

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