Health Services Research & Development

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Research News


Dr. Stephan Fihn Retires from VA

February 1, 2018


Stephan Fihn, MD, MPH

Stephan Fihn, MD, MPH

After nearly 36 years of service, Stephan Fihn, MD, MPH – a general internist, staff physician, and HSR&D researcher – is retiring from the VA healthcare system. From 1993 to 2011, Dr. Fihn directed the Northwest HSR&D Center of Excellence at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System. His research addressed a broad range of topics related to strategies for improving the efficiency and quality of primary medical care and understanding the epi­demiology of common medical problems. In 2002, he received VA’s Under Secretary’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Health Services Research. He also served as VA’s Acting Chief Research and Development Officer in 2004 and 2005. In VA Central Office, Dr. Fihn served as Chief Quality and Performance Officer, Director of Analytics and Business Intelligence, and, most recently, as Director of Clinical System Development and Evaluation. 

Of his many contributions toward improving healthcare for Veterans, one of the most important was helping create the Clinical Assessment, Reporting, and Tracking System for Cardiac Catheterization Laboratories (CART-CL). The CART-CL clinical application is now integrated within VA’s computerized patient record system, allowed for standardized data capture and reporting across all VA cath labs. CART represents a successful clinical application development, national implementation effort, and linked national quality program for VA. The CART model reflects VA's ability to lead the nation in innovative health information technology and quality of care, meaningfully improving patient safety and outcomes.

Upon his retirement from VA, Dr. Fihn will continue to serve as Head of the Division of General Internal Medicine at the University of Washington, a position he has held since 1996. In addition, he was named Deputy Editor of a new, open-access journal, JAMA Network Open. Although Dr. Fihn has worn many hats throughout his time with VA, direct patient care has remained his constant passion. Since 1982, he has maintained a weekly patient clinic at VA Puget Sound, and will continue this after his retirement from VA.

HSR&D is very grateful for Dr. Fihn’s years of service and his efforts to optimize the health and care of Veterans. He will be greatly missed.