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Noteworthy Publications

Supplement highlights VA's PACTs

A PACT team in action at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center.
A PACT team in action at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center. (Photo by Tommy Leonardi)

A PACT team in action at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center. (Photo by Tommy Leonardi)

VA now has Patient-Aligned Care Teams (PACTs) at all of its 150 hospitals and 820 community-based outpatient clinics. A July 2014 supplement to the Journal of General Internal Medicine featured 19 articles that shared lessons learned by researchers and their clinical policy partners during the early stages of PACT implementation. Below are a few highlights.

  • Researchers from the Iowa City VA Medical Center found that VA's ability to provide continuity of care was significantly related to Veterans' perceived quality of communication between themselves and their providers. The researchers found that the unavailability of a primary care provider for a week or more had a small but statistically significant relationship with increased emergency room visits, especially if that provider was the sole (or nearly the sole) provider of a patient's care.
  • VA researchers from several facilities evaluated a national online repository of ready-to-use-tools that VA clinicians could share, download, and adopt to implement PACT and improve teams' performance. They found that more than 6,700 clinicians used the toolkit in the first 19 months it was available, and suggested that other large health care organizations might benefit from adopting similar online peer-to-peer libraries.
  • An Ann Arbor team found that clinical pharmacy specialists could function effectively as "supporting prescribers"—in place of physicians—for nurses managing the care of patients with high blood pressure. The study, which included 126 Veterans, compared pharmacist-versus physician-supported case management and found similar results between the two models.

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