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A Systems Approach to Modeling Work Flow Efficiencies in Task Distribution and Response Collection (Towards Promoting Service Quality and Customer Satisfaction)

Monday, September 22, 2014 — Poster Session I

12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

FAES Academic Center



* FARE Award Winner


  • S. Weiss
  • Y. Li
  • L. McNay


This presentation offers an integrated, systems approach to the workflow of the “Liaison Office” in the Division of Clinical Research at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The office handles approximately 300 complex inquiries a year, requiring document and policy review and factual information-gathering from more than 40 subject matter experts, in some 14 operational silos, followed by clearance from two levels of management. With the help of a “workflow model” and other charts and graphs, we offer insights into the process of daily activities in the office, and suggestions for operationalizing and assessing quality and satisfaction of our work product. We have gathered a body of data over 5 years to illustrate patterns and trends over time, reveal elements that influence the “system,” and pin-point issues affecting optimal deployment of resources. Our model highlights the interconnections among the various elements that contribute to the flow of information, and produce efficiencies and timeliness that are the desired outcomes of the office. A systems-thinking approach to evaluating the busy and complex dynamic of this office may help other similarly-situated employees and managers understand and evaluate the multiple-service relationships that govern the inflow, distribution, collection, and outflow of their work-product.

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