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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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Houston VA Selected for New Health Care Quality and Safety Research Initiative

November 9, 2012 

The Houston Health Services Research and Development (HSR&D) at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Centers was selected by the Department of Veterans Affairs as one of six sites for a Collaborative Research to Enhance and Advance Transformation and Excellence (CREATE) initiative.

“The CREATE initiative offers our research investigators the unique opportunity to collaborate with a wide variety of VA system partners to address high-priority, VA system-wide issues,” said Laura Petersen, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Houston VA HSR&D Center of Excellence, acting associate chief of staff /research at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, and professor and chief of the Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) Section of Health Services Research.

Centers receiving CREATE funding are comprised of multiple projects within a focused area of research, similar to a program project grant. Each individual research project must consider a distinct, but complementary area of investigation.

“We believe the collaboration and coordination of efforts will produce deliverables and new knowledge that will offer a distinct advantage to pursuing individual projects separately,” said Petersen.

The CREATE process began more than a year ago with 25 applications for the six slots.  The award is a total of $4,375,300 for all three projects. 

The Houston site will focus on improving quality and safety through better communication and coordination in VA’s Primary Care Patient-Aligned Care Teams.  Its three projects will seek to address gaps or missed opportunities for patients who might be at risk for adverse health outcomes resulting from communication and coordination breakdowns in the outpatient setting.

The first project, directed by Petersen and Sylvia Hysong, Ph.D., research health scientist at the Houston VA HSR&D Center of Excellence and assistant professor of medicine at BCM, examines the identification and delivery of point-of care information to improve care coordination. The second project, under the supervision of Hardeep Singh, M.D., M.P.H., chief of the health policy and quality program at the Houston VA HSR&D Center of Excellence and assistant professor of medicine – health services research at BCM, focuses on automated point of- care surveillance of outpatient delays in cancer diagnosis. The third project, managed by Jennifer Garvin Ph.D., M.B.A., R.H.I.A., research health scientist at VA Salt Lake Health Care System and associate professor at University of Utah, studies the feasibility of automating heart failure data for patient treatment goals at the point of care.

The Houston VA HSR&D Center of Excellence is the largest health services research center in the Southwest.  The Center of Excellence seeks to promote innovative research and scientific discovery, facilitate effective collaboration across multidisciplinary research teams, engage VA clinical and operations partners, and increase the impact of health services research on specific areas of central importance to the health and health care of Veterans. 

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