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Health Services Research & Development

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Evidence Synthesis Program

ESP Reports    ESP Topic Nomination    ESP Reports in Progress

Since 2007, the VA Evidence Synthesis Program (ESP) has helped VA function as a continuously learning health care system. We provide timely, rigorous, independent syntheses of published evidence for the VA to translate into evidence-based clinical practice, policy, and research. We adapt traditional systematic review approaches to meet our operational partners’ specific evidence needs and timelines. Whenever possible, our reports maintain an emphasis on the Veteran population to ensure our reviews are relevant to VA decision-makers. ESP reports are available in the public domain and many are published in top medical journals, extending their reach beyond the VA and even the US. ESP evidence syntheses have informed the clinical guidelines of large professional organizations.

The program receives funding from HSR&D and consists of four ESP Centers across the US, each with an active University affiliation, and a Coordinating Center, located in Portland, Oregon, which oversees national program operations, ensures methodological consistency and quality of products, and engages with stakeholders. Center Directors are recognized leaders in the field of evidence synthesis, often with close ties to the AHRQ Evidence-based Practice Centers and roles as practicing clinicians in the VA. This unique expertise enables ESP to produce comprehensive reports that answer a wide range of research questions in a variety of clinical and health system settings.

Recent ESP Journal Publications

  • Weitzner ZN, Phan J, Begashaw MM, et al. Endoscopic Therapies for Patients with Obesity: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Surgical Endoscopy. 2023;37. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00464-023-10390-6.

  • Premji AM, Blegen MB, Corley AM, et al. Dual Antiplatelet Management in the Perioperative Period: Updated and Expanded Systematic Review. Systematic Reviews. 2023;12. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s13643-023-02360-9.

  • Goldsmith ES, Koffel E, Ackland PE, et al. Evaluation of Implementation Strategies for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR): A Systematic Review. Journal of General Internal Medicine. 2023. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-023-08140-4.

  • Blegen M, Ko J, Salzman G, et al. Comparing Quality of Surgical Care Between the US Department of Veterans Affairs and Non-Veterans Affairs Settings: A Systematic Review. Journal of the American College of Surgeons. Published online May 8, 2023. DOI: http://doi.org/10.1097/XCS.0000000000000720.

  • Apaydin EA, Paige NM, Begashaw MM, et al. Veterans Health Administration (VA) vs. Non-VA Healthcare Quality: A Systematic Review. Journal of General Internal Medicine. 2023. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-023-08207-2.

  • Kaka AS, Landsteiner A, Ensrud KE, et al. Risk Prediction Models for Diabetic Foot Ulcer Development or Amputation: a Review of Reviews. Journal of Foot and Ankle Research. 2023;16(13). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s13047-023-00610-6.

  • Burke C, Salcedo Rossitch S, Bejarano G, et al. Videoconferencing of Movement-Based and Psychologically Informed Interventions for Chronic Pain: A Systematic Review and Horizon Scan. Telemedicine and e-Health. Published online February 14, 2023. DOI: http://doi.org/10.1089/tmj.2022.0308.

  • Jutkowitz E, Landsteiner A, Ratner E, et al.Effects of Nurse Staffing on Resident Outcomes in Nursing Homes: A Systematic Review. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association. 2023; 24(1). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jamda.2022.11.002.

  • Allen J, Mak S, Begashaw M, et al. Use of Acupuncture for Adult Health Conditions, 2013 to 2021: A Systematic Review. JAMA Network Open. 2022;5(11):e2243665. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.43665.

New Reports

  • Systematic Review - Health Care Team Interventions for Older Adults With Distress Behaviors (intranet only)
  • Systematic Review - Screening for Hepatocellular Carcinoma in Adults at Increased Risk (intranet only)
  • Evidence Map - Massage Therapy: Update from 2018-2023 (intranet only)

More...


Peer Review

ESP reports are externally peer-reviewed by clinical and policy experts. If you're interested in serving as a peer reviewer for the program, please register here.



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Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.