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Enhancing Mental and Physical Health of Women through Engagement and Retention (EMPOWER) 2.0 QUERI: study protocol for a cluster-randomized hybrid type 3 effectiveness-implementation trial.

Hamilton AB, Finley EP, Bean-Mayberry B, Lang A, Haskell SG, Moin T, Farmer MM, EMPOWER QUERI Team. Enhancing Mental and Physical Health of Women through Engagement and Retention (EMPOWER) 2.0 QUERI: study protocol for a cluster-randomized hybrid type 3 effectiveness-implementation trial. Implementation science communications. 2023 Mar 8; 4(1):23.

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Abstract:

BACKGROUND: Women Veterans are the fastest-growing segment of Veterans Health Administration (VA) users. The VA has invested heavily in delivering care for women Veterans that is effective, comprehensive, and gender-tailored. However, gender disparities persist in cardiovascular (CV) and diabetes risk factor control, and the rate of perinatal depression among women Veterans is higher than that among civilian women. Challenges such as distance, rurality, negative perception of VA, discrimination (e.g., toward sexual and/or gender minority individuals), and harassment on VA grounds can further impede women's regular use of VA care. Enhancing Mental and Physical Health of Women through Engagement and Retention (EMPOWER) 2.0 builds on work to date by expanding access to evidence-based, telehealth preventive and mental health services for women Veterans with high-priority health conditions in rural and urban-isolation areas. METHODS: EMPOWER 2.0 will evaluate two implementation strategies, Replicating Effective Practices (REP) and Evidence-Based Quality Improvement (EBQI), in supporting the implementation and sustainment of three evidence-based interventions (Virtual Diabetes Prevention Program; Telephone Lifestyle Coaching Program; and Reach Out, Stay Strong Essentials) focused on preventive and mental health care for women Veterans. We will conduct a mixed-methods implementation evaluation using a cluster-randomized hybrid type 3 effectiveness-implementation trial design to compare the effectiveness of REP and EBQI on improved access to and rates of engagement in telehealth preventive lifestyle and mental health services. Other outcomes of interest include (a) VA performance metrics for telehealth care delivery and related clinical outcomes; (b) progression along the Stages of Implementation Completion; (c) adaptation, sensemaking, and experiences of implementation among multilevel stakeholders; and (d) cost and return on investment. We will also generate implementation playbooks for program partners to support scale-up and spread of these and future evidence-based women's health programs and policies. DISCUSSION: EMPOWER 2.0 provides a model for mixed-methods hybrid type 3 effectiveness-implementation trial design incorporating evaluation of performance metrics, implementation progress, stakeholder experience, and cost and return on investment, with the ultimate goal of improving access to evidence-based preventive and mental telehealth services for women Veterans with high-priority health conditions. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT05050266 . Registered on 20 September 2021.





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