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Health Services Research & Development

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VHA's Priorities for Strategic Action

Spotlight on Employee Engagement Resources

January 2016

A number of HSR&D Centers of Innovation are working on studies related to employee engagement; below are links to more information on these studies. Please note that these lists are not intended to be comprehensive. For more information, please visit the Center's website and/or the study/citation search pages on the HSR&D website.


Identifying and Delivering Point-of-Care Information to Improve Care Coordination
One of the primary purposes of this project is to improve inter-team communication at the point of care. A design team, composed of members of the Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT), created a set of indicators to measure their level of effectiveness along several communication domains. These indicators are being operationalized to provide feedback to the PACTs on their performance along these domains, showing where they are exceeding their self-identified goals and where effort needs to be invested to meet the goal.


Employee burnout is a significant problem in the health professions. In prior work, investigators developed and tested an intervention - BREATHE (Burnout Reduction: Enhanced Awareness, Tools, Handouts, and Education) - to reduce mental health provider burnout. This study examines organizational factors that affect burnout, in order to better design supports to reduce it. Findings showed that participants who received BREATHE training exhibited less emotional exhaustion and more consumer optimism at six months, compared to baseline. Depersonalization scores were also lower at six weeks.

Los Angeles

Implementation of VA Women's Health Patient Aligned Care Teams (WH-PACTs)
This randomized trial uses an evidence-based quality improvement (EBQI) approach to tailoring PACT to meet the needs of women Veterans. EBQI engages local employees in quality improvement teams to design, conduct, and evaluate innovations to improve care.

Salt Lake City

Measuring Patient-Centeredness in Patient-Provider Interactions in VHA
One key aspect of patient-centered care is the quality of provider-patient interaction. Understanding providers' perspectives, information needs, and strategies for incorporating a patient-centered approach is key to effective implementation. This project will identify providers' mental models, expectations, and goals for delivering patient-centered care.

Information Extraction and Visualization Toolkit (IE-Viz)
Natural language processing (NLP) tools can structure free text in the electronic health record, making it accessible to computerized applications, and leveraging this rich clinical data. This project will develop an environment built upon a solid foundation of successful VA NLP components, applying user-centered design and evaluation techniques to address the gap between existing NLP to technology and the needs of end users. Data needs of users (i.e., employees) will be considered and evaluated throughout the process.


Wheelchair Seated Posture and Health Outcomes for CLC Residents
This study addresses employee engagement by involving VA direct care staff (nurses, Certified Nursing Assistants, kinesiotherapists), who actually position Veterans daily, in developing an intervention to improve Veteran comfort and breathing in wheelchair seating, in a long-term care setting. Staff are interviewed for their ideas on positioning our most fragile Veterans, with suggestions incorporated in a wheelchair seating intervention.

QUERI Programs

Ann Arbor, MI

Implementing Goals of Care Conversations with Veterans in VA Long-Term Care (LTC) Settings
This QUERI program focuses on improving the provision of Veteran-centered care in VA Community Living Centers (CLCs) and Home-Based Primary Care Programs (HBPCs), and is designed to support a process that incorporates Veterans' preferences for care. In all projects, investigators will use what are called "learning collaboratives" - meetings in which staff come together and problem-solve issues they encounter regarding how to get Veterans' preferences expressed and documented, as well as how to make sure that those preferences are acted upon.

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