The National Collaborative for Improving Primary Care Through Industrial and Systems Engineering (I-PrACTISE) held its third meeting in Madison, WI April 12-14, 2015.

Conference Presentations

Executive Summary

The National Collaborative for Improving Primary Care Through Industrial and Systems Engineering (I-PrACTISE) held its third national meeting in Madison, WI April 12 – 14, 2015. This collaborative, started by the late Ben-Tzion Karsh, Ph.D. over 15 years ago, has brought together national experts in primary care and industrial and systems engineering (ISyE) to use the tools and methods of ISyE to improve the quality of primary care while improving the quality of work life for clinicians and staff.  This successful transdisciplinary collaboration has resulted with members being awarded over $4.5 million in grant funding and producing over 60 publications.

Our 2015 conference, was the second to build on our initial agenda-setting conference in 2013. Our motto was “Bringing Science to Policy and Practice” and we highlighted the need for ISyE experts to understand the realities of primary care while at the same time alerting primary care clinicians to the potential of ISyE approaches for developing a scientific understanding of primary care.  Our goal is to inform industry, policy makers, administrators, and clinicians.  Patient representatives played an active role in this year’s conference.

The conference began on Sunday, April 12th with a welcome reception honoring the life and work of Professor Ben-Tzion (“Bentzi”) Karsh, and was attended by a total of 55 colleagues, friends and family members as well as conference attendees from Madison and across US. There was a commitment to carry forward and expand the creative collaboration Bentzi started.

The sessions of the 2015 I-PrACTISE Conference were attended by 75 participants, with a total of 34 participants coming from the University of Wisconsin, of which nine were graduate level students and primary care residents. The other 41 participants (including three graduate students) hailed from other United States universities as well as the private sector (medical and industry), quality improvement organizations and patient representative groups. There were 23 experts in Primary Care, 16 experts in ISyE and the remainder from other related disciplines including psychology, nursing, pharmacy, administration and medical informatics.

The conference opened with plenary talks addressing policy issues which were derived from issues raised at our 2014 conference.  Tim Bartholow, MD, Chief Medical Officer from the Wisconsin Education Association Trust (a health insurance provider) spoke on Does Health Care get Better if we Don’t Buy Better (Wiser)”. This was followed by Greg Simmons, MA, CEO/President, MetaStar (our Medicare QIO), who discussed “From Volume to Value, Restructuring of American Medicine”. Then Jenna Marquard, PhD, Associate Professor of the University of Massachusetts spoke on “Integrating Patient-Generated Data into the EHR: Primary Care Clinician and Patient Perspectives”.

There were eight 15 minute podium presentations which followed these talks, and this year none were held concurrently, a popular change, as participants were pleased to be able to attend every podium presentation. This year’s Podium Presentations were varied, including a presentation on an AMA new initiative involving the “Joy in Practice”; an evaluation of a panel size of 2000 capturing office visits, care coordination not reflected in fee for service systems that is a unsustainably high burden over a year; and a presentation on how building facilities influences experiences.

The Podium Presentors had a break in the afternoon when two speakers addressed patient issues and representation, i.e.  Meg Gaines, JD spoke on “Can Healing Happen Here?” and Nancy Pandhi, MD, PhD and Sarah Davis, JD spoke on “Patient Engagement with Primary Care Teams for Quality Improvement”.  Both of these issues were raised during the 2014 Conference  and requested to be addressed this year; both talks were highly rated.

This conference allowed both primary care and engineering researchers as well as other field researchers to present a “nutshell” of their research projects to the participants of the conference. Some of the research presented as well as the plenaries given, were products of the collaborations stemming from the 2014 I-PrACTISE Conference. There was a balanced mix of research describing the interventions of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) approaches in Primary Care models or the collaborations between the two fields.

The evening dinner was enhanced by A. Joy Rivera, PH.D.  who gave “The Karsh Lecture”.  Dr. Rivera shared her most valuable experiences from her training with Dr. Karsh, and offered challenges for our future work .

The final plenary was Mark Helfand, MD’s talk “EBM2-A new model for evidence-based practice” which was followed by AHRQ representative Rebecca Roper, MS, MPH’s talk on “AHRQ Primary Research grant Funding Opportunities.”

In the end,  participants were invited to attend either of two concurrent 90-minute workshops.  One was led by Matt Swedlund, MD, “Education for the effective and efficient use of Health Information Technology (HIT) for health profession students”.  This helped attendees understand the potential for formal education in the health professions regarding HIT use.   The other, led by Marlon Mundt, Ph.D., explored “Communication Strategies for the Clinical Care Team – Does Face-to-Face Trump Electrons?” and highlighted the impact of communication styles on clinician and patient outcomes.  Both sessions brought an ISyE approach to primary care education and practice.

Future Calls to Action

This 2015 I-PrACTISE conference succeeded by increasing local and national collaborations.  The results are disseminated through web presentations and online teamwork as well as individual projects and publications.  We continuing to build a nationwide transdisciplinary collaboration with increasing research capacity and at the same time are developing more state and national alliances which will help in the dissemination and application of primary care science.  We are making good progress towards our vision which is:  The care of patients will be improved and the practice of primary care medicine will become more efficient through new knowledge and techniques created by the collaboration between Industrial Engineering and the primary care specialties.

We learned however, we need to be more proactive in “getting the word out” to increase the number of scholarly submissions and the overall attendance at the conference.  Our meeting of our National Advisory Council at the end of the conference also highlighted the need to develop more formal mentoring for young investigators (ISyE or clinical), and methods of doing this will be discussed at our next Council meeting in July.

Conference Schedule

Sunday:  April 12, 2015

6:30 PM Networking/Welcome Reception

Monday:  April 13, 2015

7:00 AM  Breakfast/Networking/Welcome
7:45 AM  Introductions –
8:00 AM  Plenary – “Does Health Care get Better if we Don’t Buy Better (Wiser)” – Tim Bartholow, MD, Chief Medical Officer, WI Education Association Trust
8:30 AM Plenary – Greg Simmons, MA, CEO/President, MetaStar
9:00 AM  Plenary – “Integrating Patient-Generated Data into the EHR: Primary Care Clinician and Patient Perspectives” – Jenna Marquard, PhD, Associate Professor, University of MA
9:30 AM Break
10:00 AM Podium Presentations
12:00 PM Lunch / Introduction of I-PrACTISE Attendees
1: 00 PMCan Healing Happen Here?” – Meg Gaines, JD
1:30 PMPatient Engagement with Primary Care Teams for Quality Improvement” – Nancy Pandhi, MD, PhD & Sarah Davis JD
2:00 PM Workshops
3:30 PM Break
3:45 PM Workshops
5:00 PM  Reception / Poster Presentations
6:30 PM  Dinner / “The Karsh Lecture” – Joy Rivera, PhD, Informatics Systems Engineer, Children’s Hospital of WI in Milwaukee

Tuesday: April 14, 2015

7:00 AM Breakfast/Networking
8:00 AM Plenary – “EBM 2 – A new model for evidence-based practice” – Mark Helfand, MD, Director, Scientific Resource Center for AHRQ’s Effective Health Care Program and Director, West Coast Branch of the US Cochrane Center
8:45 AM Plenary – Rebecca A. Roper, MS, MPH, Director, AHRQ Practice-Based Research Network Initiative
9:30 AM Break
10:00 AM Podium Presentations/Workshops
12:00 PM Optional Lunch: Open Meeting of National Advisory Council and interested I-PrACTISE Members


This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Wisconsin Medical Society through the joint providership of St. Mary’s Hospital and the University of Wisconsin Department of Family Medicine. St. Mary’s Hospital is accredited by the Wisconsin Medical Society to providecontinuing medical education for physicians.

Credit Designation Statement
St. Mary’s Hospital designates this live activity for a maximum of 11.50 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™.

Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Location & Accommodations

pyle-lowellConference is held:
The Pyle Center
702 Langdon St.
Madison, WI 53706

Lodging at:
The Lowell Center
610 Langdon St.
Madison, WI

  • call (866) 301-1753 toll-free
  • contact The Lowell Center Guest Services at the Front Desk: (608) 256-2621
  • Email:
  • 610 Langdon Street, Madison, WI 53706

A valid credit card is required to book a room. When you make your reservation, please include any special requests such as accessibility needs for persons with disabilities, state-rate qualifications, or parking permits. For safety and security purposes, please don’t include credit card numbers in any e-mail correspondence.

Check-In time is 3:00 p.m.  Check-out is 11:00 a.m.

Canceling Your Reservation Policy:  At no charge, you may cancel your room by 6:00 p.m. the day before your check-in date.

Conference attendee- Group: I-PrACTISE
Special Rates through March 12, 2015

You may also use our online reservation system: Group Reservations

About the Conference

This collaborative, which was started by the late Ben-Tzion Karsh, Ph.D., has brought together primary care clinicians and industrial engineers over a 14 year period to use the tools and methods of engineering to improve the quality of primary care while improving the quality of work life for clinicians and staff.