1156 — Roles and Responsibilities of Non-Researchers in VA QUERI Research-Operations Partnerships
Delevan DM, VA Center for Implementation Practice and Research Support (CIPRS); Miake-Lye IM, VA Center for Implementation Practice and Research Support (CIPRS); Smith NZ, VA Center for Implementation Practice and Research Support (CIPRS); Barnard JM, VA Center for Implementation Practice and Research Support (CIPRS); Rubenstein LV, VA Center for Implementation Practice and Research Support (CIPRS); Ganz DA, VA Center for Implementation Practice and Research Support (CIPRS);
Research-operations partnerships are encouraged by VA leadership, but the extent and nature of operations involvement in research activities is unclear. Using a database of funded proposals from VA's Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (QUERI), we sought to identify common roles and responsibilities taken on by non-researchers in QUERI projects.
One of four reviewers abstracted data from each of 82 funded QUERI project proposals spanning 2007-2012, focusing on the roles and responsibilities of project team members and participants. A second reviewer checked all data entry. Reviewers categorized project roles as principal investigators, investigators, programmers, project/administrative staff, and expert panel/advisory committee members. Job titles were categorized by research or non-research affiliation (with further specification of VACO, VISN, or facility level affiliation for non-researchers). Project tasks were inductively sorted into categories and placed on a spectrum from research-oriented (study design, data collection and analysis) to operations-oriented (liaising with program offices or facilities, or providing clinical, operations or technological expertise).
A total of 508 individuals were listed on project proposals; based on job title, 65% (n = 330) were VA researchers, 27% (n = 137) VA non-researchers, and 9% (n = 46) non-VA. VA non-researchers constituted 18% of 83 principal investigators, 25% of 205 co-investigators and 53% of 34 expert panel or advisory committee members. Ninety-six (71%) of 136 VA non-researchers were facility staff [51 front-line staff and 45 facility leaders], 18 (24%) were program office representatives, and 16 (12%) were VISN representatives. While researchers were proposed for most of the core research tasks, 49% of 136 VA non-researchers were slated to participate in implementation and dissemination activities, and 43% to assist or advise in such activities. Fourteen percent of VA non-researchers were proposed to assist with research activities, such as intervention development, data collection or analysis.
QUERI projects involve partnerships with operations personnel at all levels of VA's organizational structure, ranging from front-line staff to national program office representatives. The intensity and nature of involvement varies substantially by project.
Funded approaches to partnership take a variety of forms. When planning future VA research-operations partnerships, investigators should recognize the availability of a broad range of options for partnership.