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Quality Enhancement Research Initiative

QUERI E-news
October 2022

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Supporting VA’s Compliance with the Evidence Act: QUERI’s National Network of Evaluation Centers

The primary goal of the Foundations for Evidence-based Policymaking Act (Evidence Act) is to enhance the way that data is used to generate evidence about policies and programs. The Act requires that government agencies annually submit a systematic plan for identifying and addressing policy questions to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Congress. QUERI’s national network of evaluation centers supports VA’s compliance with the Evidence Act by conducting rigorous evaluations that address both legislative and VA strategic priorities. This includes the development of annual evaluation plans, learning agendas, and capacity assessments.

Guided by the Learning Health System framework and the QUERI Implementation Roadmap, QUERI is deploying a systematic approach to implementing national priorities at the frontline level:

  • Engaging VA leaders to nominate and rank-order priorities,
  • Funding evaluations and quality improvement initiatives to address identified priorities, and
  • Evaluating the impact of these initiatives on VA policy and Veterans’ health and care using the QUERI Impact Framework.
QUERI circular process

QUERI’s National Network of Evaluation Centers

This national network applies novel methods to address complex policy and program questions that cut across multiple clinical program offices, service lines, and regions.

Center for Policy Evaluation

Led by Drs. Todd Wagner, David Chan, and Anita Vashi, the Center for Policy Evaluation (CPE) supports operational decision-making by leveraging causal inference methods with administrative data and qualitative methods to estimate the effects of implementing VA policies and programs.

Center for Policy Evaluation graphoc

Priority areas for the CPE include but are not limited to:

  • Burnout and staffing,
  • Community care and access,
  • Exposures during deployment,
  • Suicide and mental health,
  • and women’s health.

CPE investigators will use core data resources to improve both the speed and quality of evaluations by characterizing each VA medical center and their local market conditions. Specific projects will focus on “Evaluating Suicide Prevention Efforts and the Role of Veterans’ Disability Benefits” and the “Evaluation of VA Health Connect.” For more information about the CPE, please contact Program Coordinator, Angela So, at Angela.So@va.gov .

LEARN Evidence-Based Policy Evaluation Center

Led by Drs. Kristina Cordasco, Sonya Gabrielian, and Tanya Olmos-Ochoa, the Leading Evaluations to Advance VA’s Response to National Priorities (LEARN) Evidence-Based Policy Evaluation Center supports VA’s transformation to a Learning Health System by conducting partnered evaluations that are aligned with VA priorities including:

  • Women’s health initiatives,
  • Veteran homelessness,
  • Health disparities/social determinants of health,
  • Reducing employee/trainee burnout,
  • Virtual care, and
  • VA electronic health record modernization.

LEARN QUERI investigators also will work to support VA in fulfilling the core requirements of the Foundations for Evidence-based Policymaking Act of 2018 – and to provide evidence-based answers to questions from VA and legislative leaders. Further, they will continue to enhance VA’s pipeline of early to senior career level expertise in partnered evaluation, with an emphasis on investigator diversity, equity, and inclusion. For more information about LEARN QUERI, as well as partnering opportunities, please contact Dr. Kristina Cordasco at Kristina.Cordasco@va.gov .

Partnered Evidence-based Policy Resource Center

Led by Drs. Austin Frakt, Melissa Garrido, and Steve Pizer, the Partnered Evidence-based Policy Resource Center (PEPReC) provides rigorous data analysis to support the development and sustainment of policy, planning, and management initiatives. In addition, PEPReC coordinates VA’s response to the Evidence Act, including reviewing legislative proposals. PEPReC also produces various policy briefs on topics such as clinic efficiency, suicide prevention, and virtual healthcare. Recently, PEPReC investigators:

  • Studied access to care in VA – and the relationship of access to health outcomes,
  • Collaborated with VA operations partners to help them develop and refine their ideas for quality and efficiency improvements to encourage evidence-based policy and programs,
  • Applied state-of-the-art techniques for analyzing big data to develop and apply evidence-based performance metrics, and
  • Designed and helped launch randomized program evaluations of high-priority clinical and policy interventions.

PEPReC projects focus on topics that range from partnering with VA’s Office of Enterprise Integration on “Complying with the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act” to “Specialty Care Underserved Models,” in which they will use the economic principles of supply and demand to measure underserved patient populations in the VA healthcare system. For more information about PEPReC, please contact Associate Director, Melissa Garrido at Melissa.Garrido@va.gov .

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