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MVE TIG Week: Using Case Studies to Improve Care for Veterans and the Nation by Annette L Gardner

I am Annette L Gardner and I am a faculty member at the University of California, San Francisco. Developing information-rich case studies can be one of the most rewarding evaluation methods.  Not only do they speak to stakeholders on a deep level but as described below they can create a legacy that endures and has the potential to reach a broad base of stakeholders.

In 2012, The Veterans Administration Office of Academic Affairs launched the Centers of Excellence in Primary Care Education (CoPCE) to seek and implement improvement strategies for interprofessional, patient-centered clinical education and methods to prepare health professions team leaders. A mixed-method study was conducted to assess implementation, trainee outcomes and new approaches to team-based interprofessional care.

I worked closely with CoEPCE Coordinating Center and the five Centers  to develop The Centers of Excellence in Primary Care Education Compendium of Five Case Studies: Lessons for Interprofessional Teamwork in Education and Clinical Learning Environments 2011-2016. Each case describes the contextual and developmental issues behind five unique examples of integrated interprofessional curriculum to support the clinical education workplace.  Peer-reviewed by the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education, this compendium provides tools and resources to help prepare professionals for interprofessional collaborative practice. These cases include: 

  • Boise VA Medical Center and the CoEPCE’s“Interprofessional Case Conferences for High Risk/High Need Patients- The PACT ICU Model”
  • Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center and the CoEPCE’s “Dyad Model”
  • San Francisco VA Health Care System and the CoEPCE’s “Huddling for Higher Performing Teams”
  • VA Puget Sound Health Care System Seattle Division CoEPCE “Panel management Model”
  • Connecticut VA Health Care System West Haven Campus CoEPCE “Initiative to Minimize Pharmaceutical Risk in Older Veterans (IMPROVE) Polypharmacy Model”

Hot Tips:

So what makes these cases different from other case studies? For starters, these cases were developed in an environment that values experimental designs and has the sample sizes to support them.  Sensitivity to stakeholder perceptions of ‘evidence’ were critical.  A contributing factor to the positive reception of these cases may have the been the sharing of these case study initiatives across sites and with VA leadership  prior to the development of the compendium. Their preparation represents a partnership effort with high Center involvement. Second, there was a strong desire to support adoption in other training settings. The VA took dissemination very seriously and launched an aggressive campaign to distribute the compendium through multiple platforms, including the VA website, Government Printing Office, LinkedIn, and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement Playbook. Third, VA staff are monitoring the uptake and use of the cases, a rare occurrence in evaluation design, and are soliciting input using an impact using online questionnaire.

Lessons Learned:

Partnerships and a creative approach to dissemination have the potential to keep evaluation findings from being consigned to the ‘dustbin of history’ and facilitate learning beyond the immediate program stakeholders.

Rad Resource:

VA CoEPCE Case Studies Quality Improvement Questionnaire

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating MVE TIG Week with our colleagues in the Military and Veteran’s Issues Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our MVE TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.


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