From the Chief Research and Development Officer
Timothy O'Leary, MD, PhD
Timothy O'Leary, MD, PhD
Ensuring high-quality care for Veterans is an important goal of VA's Office of Research and Development (ORD). Our Health Services Research and Development Service (HSR&D) spearheads this effort. HSR&D investigators study all aspects of VA health care and focus on identifying and evaluating innovative strategies that lead to accessible, high quality, cost-effective care for Veterans and the nation.
Over the past two years, in an effort to improve the timeliness and impact of research on VA health care, HSR&D has developed innovative funding programs that focus on collaboration and partnerships. The idea is that researchers working together with health care managers, frontline doctors and nurses, patients, and other stakeholders from the early development stages of a research project will generate findings that are targeted, practical, and more readily implemented into clinical practice.
Among HSR&D's innovative programs are the following:
- The Collaborative Research to Enhance Transformation and Excellence (CREATE) initiative encourages HSR&D investigators to collaborate with others in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) in studying high-priority issues.
- Centers of Innovation (COINs) promote strong clinical and operational partnerships. HSR&D has funded 19 COINs on VA priorities such as health equity, rural health, primary care, pain, long-term care, and disability and rehabilitation.
- Created in 1998, VA's Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (QUERI) supports VHA's efforts to improve health care for Veterans by implementing effective clinical treatments into routine practice. Each of QUERI's 10 centers focuses on an area that is a high priority in Veterans' health care. Examples include heart disease, mental health, substance abuse, and polytrauma. And QUERI investigators are increasingly looking at cross-cutting issues such as e-health technology.
Among many other topics, our researchers look into ways to cut wait times and improve scheduling procedures. We are also working to better understand the health care needs of Veterans who live in rural or remote settings, and to develop and test initiatives that will fill any gaps in their care.
Another key research area is Patient-Aligned Care Teams (PACTs). PACTs aim to deliver primary care that is
patient-driven, team-based, comprehensive, and coordinated. Our investigators have generated valuable evidence and insights to help refine the PACT model, which VA began implementing about four years ago.
The spread of high-speed Internet access and the use of mobile technologies give Veterans multiple ways to connect with their VA health care team. We are looking at how "connected" health care can be made even better, with a broad range of studies focused on the use of telephones, the Internet, videoconferencing, email, and text messaging.
This issue of VA Research Quarterly Update will inform you about these and other ways our researchers are helping to ensure world-class care for Veterans.