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2015 HSR&D/QUERI National Conference Abstract

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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);

Objectives:
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.

Methods:
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).

Results:
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.

Implications:
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.

Impacts:
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.