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VA Research Quality Update on Research to Ensure High-Quality Care

December 7, 2015

VA is working to identify and evaluate innovative strategies to improve access and quality, especially for Veterans who face barriers to care, such as those living in rural areas. The new issue of VA Research Quarterly Update highlights VA research on understanding Veteran perceptions of access and barriers to care, developing new models for access to specialty care, and advancing innovations in connected health. For example, in September 2015, HSR&D held a state-of-the-science conference on natural language processing (NLP) in Washington, D.C., where more than 37 VA and non-VA researchers discussed how NLP might be better used to for research priorities, including genomic research, as well as how NLP might be used to better understand patients' experiences of care. This issue also features an article on "Understanding How Patients Use eHealth Technology," in which HSR&D investigator Dr. Donna Zulman talks about how patients with multiple chronic conditions use technology to manage and make sense of their healthcare. A related article focuses on the work of another HSR&D investigator, Dr. Leonard Egede, who found that talk therapy delivered by two-way video calls are at least as effective, if not more so, than in-person treatment delivery for older Veterans with depression. This issue also highlights a recent JGIM editorial in which HSR&D investigator Dr. Walid Gellad reviews the history of the Veterans Choice Program and discusses problems associated with dual care use and care fragmentation, in addition to offering suggestions for ensuring its safe and effective implementation.

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