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Two Centers Funded to Evaluate Specialty Care Transformation Initiative

November 28, 2011

The Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (QUERI) and the Office of Specialty Care Transformation (OSCT) have provided funding awards to two centers that will evaluate four Specialty Care Transformation Initiative projects. The Evaluation Centers' goals will be two-fold: First, they will assess the transformational initiatives and discern how to improve those initiatives; second, they will seek to identify variations in aspects of implementation for those initiatives. The four projects to be evaluated include:

  • Electronic Consults (E-Consults). This project focuses on implementing an electronic consultation system (E-Consult) that allows for specialist consultation without requiring Veterans to be onsite at a specialty care facility.
  • Specialty Care Access Network-Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (SCAN-ECHO). In many rural and medically underserved areas, primary care providers (PCPs) do not have access to specialty care services or facilities. Through the use of videoconferencing equipment, the SCAN-ECHO Core Team (comprised of specialists, pharmacists, psychiatrists, and other providers) will provide PCPs with clinical treatment plans. Key among the program's goals is to increase the overall knowledge base of rurally-located PCPs so that they can treat complex and chronic conditions without referring Veterans to a distant specialty care facility.
  • Specialty Care Mini-Residency Programs. Funds have been designated to develop a "mini-residency" program for primary care practitioners (physicians, advanced practice nurses, and physician assistants.) Participants will gain additional experience in performing procedures and disease management interventions that are frequently performed by specialty care practitioners, but that are within the scope of primary care practice.
  • Patient-Centered Models for the Management of Chronic Disease. Funds have been designated to develop a model that emphasizes specialty care support of the Patient Aligned Care Team. The development of these models will provide VHA with the opportunity to transform chronic disease care through the continuum of the condition, starting with initial diagnosis.

Both Evaluation Centers are joint initiatives, one between Cleveland and Ann Arbor, which will be led by Dr. David Aron; and the other between Denver and Seattle, to be led by Dr. Michael Ho.

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