Principles for Clinical Office Practices

What are the components of the "ideal" office practice? While no two offices will be exactly the same, these are the guiding principles identified by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) in Boston as medical groups began shaping the "Idealized Design of Clinical Office Practices." The IHI defined the components as "a foundation for our vision of what clinical offices should be."

- Paramount focus on the clinician-patient relationship.

- Individualized access to care and information at all times.

- Knowledge-based care — standard.

- Opportunity for patient to customize his own care to the extent that each individual desires.

- Minimal waiting for all involved in the processes of care.

- Seamless communication of information and coordination of care based upon cooperative relationships.

- Financial performance sufficient to ensure unhindered viability.

- Patient and practice management based on real-time data, including measures of process, satisfaction, finance, outcomes, and epidemiology.

- Continual improvement and waste reduction in all processes and services.

- Individual health linked to broader community health.

- A model work environment.

[Editor’s note: For more information on the "Idealized Design of Clinical Office Practices" project, contact the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, 135 Francis St., Boston, MA 02215. Telephone: (617) 754-4800. Fax: (617) 754-4848. Web site: www. ihi.org.]