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Sequelae of an Evidence-based Approach to Management for Access to Care in the Veterans Health Administration.

Kaboli PJ, Miake-Lye IM, Ruser C, Yano EM, Orshansky G, Rubenstein L, Curtis I, Kirsh S, Hempel S. Sequelae of an Evidence-based Approach to Management for Access to Care in the Veterans Health Administration. Medical care. 2019 Oct 1; 57 Suppl 10 Suppl 3:S213-S220.

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BACKGROUND: Access to health care is a critical concept in the design, delivery, and evaluation of high quality care. Meaningful evaluation of access requires research evidence and the integration of perspectives of patients, providers, and administrators. OBJECTIVE: Because of high-profile access challenges, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) invested in research and implemented initiatives to address access management. We describe a 2-year evidence-based approach to improving access in primary care. METHODS: The approach included an Evidence Synthesis Program (ESP) report, a 22-site in-person qualitative evaluation of VA initiatives, and in-person and online stakeholder panel meetings facilitated by the RAND corporation. Subsequent work products were disseminated in a targeted strategy to increase impact on policy and practice. RESULTS: The ESP report summarized existing research evidence in primary care management and an evaluation of ongoing initiatives provided organizational data and novel metrics. The stakeholder panel served as a source of insights and information, as well as a knowledge dissemination vector. Work products included the ESP report, a RAND report, peer-reviewed manuscripts, presentations at key conferences, and training materials for VA Group Practice Managers. Resulting policy and practice implications are discussed. CONCLUSIONS: The commissioning of an evidence report was the beginning of a cascade of work including exploration of unanswered questions, novel research and measurement discoveries, and policy changes and innovation. These results demonstrate what can be achieved in a learning health care system that employs evidence and expertise to address complex issues such as access management.

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