Health Services Research & Development

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Segal AG, Rodriguez KL, Shea JA, Hruska KL, Walker L, Groeneveld PW. Quality and Value of Health Care in the Veterans Health Administration: A Qualitative Study. Journal of the American Heart Association. 2019 May 7; 8(9):e011672.
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Abstract: Background The attitudes of Department of Veterans Affairs ( VA ) cardiovascular clinicians toward the VA ''s quality-of-care processes, clinical outcomes measures, and healthcare value are not well understood. Methods and Results Semistructured telephone interviews were conducted with cardiovascular healthcare providers (n=31) at VA hospitals that were previously identified as high or low performers in terms of healthcare value. The interviews focused on VA providers'' experiences with measures of processes, outcomes, and value (ie, costs relative to outcomes) of cardiovascular care. Most providers were aware of process-of-care measurements, received regular feedback generated from those data, and used that feedback to change their practices. Fewer respondents reported clinical outcomes measures influencing their practice, and virtually no participants used value data to inform their practice, although several described administrative barriers limiting high-cost care. Providers also expressed general enthusiasm for the VA ''s quality measurement/improvement efforts, with relatively few criticisms about the workload or opportunity costs inherent in clinical performance data collection. There were no material differences in the responses of employees of low-performing versus high-performing VA medical centers. Conclusions Regardless of their medical center''s healthcare value performance, most VA cardiovascular providers used feedback from process-of-care data to inform their practice. However, clinical outcomes data were used more rarely, and value-of-care data were almost never used. The limited use of outcomes data to inform healthcare practice raises concern that healthcare outcomes may have insufficient influence, whereas the lack of value data influencing cardiovascular care practices may perpetuate inefficiencies in resource use.