Health Services Research & Development

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VHA's Priorities for Strategic Action

Spotlight on Employee Engagement

January 2016


Since their announcement in September of 2015, the VA Health Services Research & Development (HSR&D) website has been highlighting HSR&D research that supports VA Under Secretary for Health Dr. David Shulkin's five critical priority areas:

  • Access. Decrease appointment wait-times for Veterans, and address other challenges associated with their access to care.
  • Employee Engagement. Improve recruitment, retention, and morale.
  • Business practices. Ensure consistency of best practices by focusing on what's working well and ensuring that effective systems are supported with necessary resources.
  • High-performance healthcare network. Develop a high-performing network that will reduce costs and improve quality of care.
  • Restore pride, public trust, and confidence in VA.

Previous features have focused on access and building high-performance healthcare networks, and this month's feature looks at three investigations that address employee engagement. Employee engagement has great impact on any workplace. Engaged employees actively want to be involved with their place of work, understand their jobs and roles within their organizations, and know how their work contributes to the success of their team or company. The following HSR&D-funded studies focused on employee engagement within the VA healthcare system.

  • Strategic Priority Awareness and Activity within the Veterans Health Administration. VA's Office of Patient Centered Care and Culture Transformation (OPCC&CT) has endeavored to institute a culture of patient-centered care (PCC) throughout the VA healthcare system - a key priority within VA's strategic plan. Funded by OPCC&CT and HSR&D, investigators in this study used data from the FY2014 All Employee Survey to assess VA employees' degree of awareness and involvement in this effort. Learn more...
  • BREATHE in the VA. VA provides substantial mental health services to Veterans, and preventing burnout among providers is an important part of VA's ability to offer those critical services. In this study, investigators sought to test the effectiveness of the Burnout Reduction: Enhanced Awareness, Tools, Handouts, and Education (BREATHE) program in a randomized, controlled design. Learn more...
  • Improving Care Coordination within VA Patient-Aligned Care Teams. Many Veterans are impacted by multiple, co-occurring health conditions that require treatment from a variety of care providers. One proposed method of effective care coordination is VA's Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT) initiative. In this study, investigators sought to determine the point-of-care information that PACT members need to successfully coordinate care, and assess the effect that adopting those coordination criteria had on PACT clinicians. Learn more...