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Using Research to Transform Electronic Health Record Modernization: Advancing a VA Partnered Research Agenda to Increase Research Impacts.

Cogan AM, Rinne ST, Weiner M, Simon S, Davila J, Yano EM. Using Research to Transform Electronic Health Record Modernization: Advancing a VA Partnered Research Agenda to Increase Research Impacts. Journal of general internal medicine. 2023 Oct 1; 38(Suppl 4):965-973.

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BACKGROUND: The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is undergoing an enterprise-wide transition from a homegrown electronic health record (EHR) system to a commercial off-the-shelf product. Because of the far-reaching effects of the EHR transformation through all aspects of the healthcare system, VA Health Services Research and Development identified a need to develop a research agenda that aligned with health system priorities so that work may inform evidence-based improvements in implementation processes and outcomes. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this paper is to report on the development of a research agenda designed to optimize the EHR transition processes and implementation outcomes in a large, national integrated delivery system. DESIGN: We used a sequential mixed-methods approach (portfolio assessment, literature review) combined with multi-level stakeholder engagement approach that included research, informatics, and healthcare operations experts in EHR transitions in and outside the VA. Data from each stage were integrated iteratively to identify and prioritize key research areas within and across all stakeholder groups. PARTICIPANTS: VA informatics researchers, regional VA health system leaders, national VA program office leaders, and external informatics experts with EHR transition experience. KEY RESULTS: Through three rounds of stakeholder engagement, priority research topics were identified that focused on operations, user experience, patient safety, clinical outcomes, value realization, and informatics innovations. CONCLUSIONS: The resulting EHR-focused research agenda was designed to guide development and conduct of rigorous research evidence aimed at providing actionable results to address the needs of operations partners, clinicians, clinical staff, patients, and other stakeholders. Continued investment in research and evaluation from both research and operations divisions of VA will be critical to executing the research agenda, ensuring its salience and value to the health system and its end users, and ultimately realizing the promise of this EHR transition.

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