University of Washington School of Public Health

UW SPH News: Evaluating Effort to Improve Veterans' Access to Health Care

Evaluating Effort to Improve Veterans' Access to Health Care

11/20/2015
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The University of Washington will help measure a new effort to improve veterans’ timely access to health care.

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Cynthia LeRouge

The UW School of Public Health is partnering with the Veterans Administration Office of Analytics and Business Intelligence to evaluate the VA’s new clinical management training program for administrators and relevant employees. The measure focuses on health care practice management and scheduling.

The program is part of the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act, signed into law last year by President Obama after revelations of chronic delays among veterans seeking medical care.

“The ultimate goal of this effort is to transform clinic culture to provide an excellent health care experience for veterans,” said George Sayre, a health science researcher and the qualitative resources coordinator at the VA Puget Sound Healthcare System. He is also a clinical assistant professor of health services at the UW School of Public Health.

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George Sayre

Cynthia LeRouge, associate professor of health services, is working with Sayre and the VA and plans to conduct dozens of interviews with employees at VA medical facilities across the country over the next year. She indicated challenges of access are more complicated than they appear.

“To provide veterans with access to the quality care they deserve requires recognizing such things as the scheduling role and workflow, the supply and demand for various types of care (primary and specialty), the utilization of tools and metrics, and appropriate use of various forms of patient and provider connectivity (for example, email, telemedicine, in-person visits),” LeRouge said.

The evaluation is funded by the Veteran’s Administration and is expected to run through September 2016.