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Quality Enhancement Research Initiative

QUERI E-news
October 2022

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VHA Evidence-based Policy Subcommittee Mission and Process

The passage of the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 (Evidence Act) has led to exciting opportunities to advance how evidence-based policy is executed to enhance patient care within the VA healthcare system. Since 2019, QUERI has been working with VA’s Chief Strategy Office to create an enterprise-wide approach to evidence development and evaluation. The success of these efforts led to the establishment of the Evidence-based Policy Subcommittee (EBPS) to serve as VA’s principal hub for aligning and focusing evaluation efforts and resources to inform evidence-based policy. It also resulted in the expansion of QUERI’s national systematic process to identify priorities for Evidence Act evaluations, as well as the launch of QUERI-funded Evidence-based Policy Evaluation Centers to tackle complex policy questions.

The mission of VA's Chief Strategy Office is to integrate strategy, information, and insight to enable VA to provide industry-leading healthcare to Veterans.

VA’s Evidence-based Policy Subcommittee

Created in May 2022, VA’s Evidence-based Policy Subcommittee (EBPS) drives the use of high-impact evidence and evaluation to enhance efficiency across the VA healthcare system in order to ensure that Veterans and their families, VA employees, and sites benefit from effective programs, policies, and practices. The EBPS includes representatives involved in VA-wide evaluation efforts: Chief Strategy Office, Quality and Patient Safety, Congressional and Legislative Affairs, Office of Finance, Office of Discovery, Education and Affiliate Networks (DEAN), and QUERI (represented by Deputy Director, Melissa Braganza, MPH). It also includes VA-wide efforts, such as the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), National Cemetery Administration (NCA), Veterans Experience Office (VEO), and VA’s Office of Enterprise Integration (OEI).

The EBPS serves as the principal forum and communication function for the VHA Strategic Directions Committee and VA’s Under Secretary for Health (USH), Shereef Elnahal, MD, MBA, to ensure that the core requirements of the Evidence Act are fulfilled by VA. More specifically, the EBPS works to:

  • Coordinate and develop VA deliverables for the Evidence Act,
  • Prioritize learning agenda and evaluation plan topics,
  • Support evaluation capacity across the VA healthcare system,
  • Facilitate well-justified budgets using a Strength-of-Evidence Checklist, and
  • Maintain the flow of information throughout the healthcare system.

For the first time – and with the recent approval of the EBPS charter – VA’s Office of Research & Development (ORD) has a seat at the table with VA clinical operations leadership. This partnership will serve to support prioritization of national evaluation goals, and thus, help drive the use of high-impact evidence and evaluation to enhance efficiency across the VA healthcare system. By regularly bringing together policy, strategy, and finance leaders and HSR&D/QUERI investigators, we have an opportunity to implement Learning Healthcare System goals on a broader level, leveraging resources across VA to address health challenges that cut across multiple clinical program offices, service lines, and VISNs. QUERI Deputy Director, Melissa Braganza will help integrate these policy efforts with QUERI’s bottom-up implementation efforts to support providers in delivering evidence-based care.

Since joining QUERI six years ago, I have seen it grow tremendously – partnering with VISNs to move the needle on quality of care, expanding training opportunities for VA employees, developing pathways to support early career investigators and staff. I am looking forward to seeing how we can bring QUERI’s decades of experience in implementation, evaluation, and stakeholder engagement to help foster evidence-informed program, policy, and budget decisions across VA. —Melissa Braganza

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