0
Summaries for Patients |

The Quality of Health Care for Veterans Compared with Other Patients FREE

[+] Article and Author Information

The summary below is from the full report titled “Comparison of Quality of Care for Patients in the Veterans Health Administration and Patients in a National Sample.” It is in the 21 December 2004 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine (volume 141, pages 938-945). The authors are S.M. Asch, E.A. McGlynn, M.M. Hogan, R.A. Hayward, P. Shekelle, L. Rubenstein, J. Keesey, J. Adams, and E.A. Kerr.


Ann Intern Med. 2004;141(12):I-42. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-141-12-200412210-00005
Text Size: A A A

What is the problem and what is known about it so far?

The U.S. Veterans Health Administration (VHA) provides comprehensive health care to veterans through VHA-run medical centers. Previously, some have been concerned that the quality of care in VHA centers might not be as high as in other settings. Since the early 1990s, the VHA has worked to improve the quality of the health care it delivers. An important part of that effort has been a program that measures health care quality and holds administrators of VHA medical centers responsible for maintaining high-quality care at their institutions. Recent studies suggest that, in the areas where the VHA measures quality, care in the VHA system is better than it is in other health systems. It is unknown whether quality is better in the many other areas for which the VHA does not follow quality measures.

Why did the researchers do this particular study?

To compare the overall quality of health care in the VHA system, including areas the VHA does not routinely monitor for quality, with that of other health systems.

Who was studied?

596 patients from 26 VHA sites in the midwestern and southwestern United States and 992 patients seen at private hospitals and clinics in 12 large cities throughout the United States. All were men older than age 35 years.

How was the study done?

The researchers reviewed medical records and categorized each patient as having received or not received quality health care using 348 measures of high-quality care for 26 medical conditions. An example of a quality measure would be whether diabetic patients received appropriate tests of sugar control. The researchers then compared those measures in the VHA with those in other health systems.

What did the researchers find?

Overall, VHA patients received better care than patients in other settings. The differences in quality were largest in the areas where the VHA routinely monitors quality and smallest in the areas where it does not.

What are the limitations of the study?

The study did not include any women or men younger than age 35 years. Only some VHA and non-VHA settings were studied. The results may not apply to other types of patients or other settings. It is possible that VHA patients and non-VHA patients received similar care but that the electronic medical record in the VHA system made it easier to document high-quality care.

What are the implications of the study?

Patients cared for in the VHA health system seem to receive higher-quality care than patients who receive care elsewhere. The difference was greatest in health care areas that the VHA measures for quality, suggesting that measuring quality and holding administrators responsible for maintaining high measures may be a strategy that works to improve the quality of health care.

Figures

Tables

References

Letters

NOTE:
Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).

Comments

Submit a Comment
Submit a Comment

Summary for Patients

Clinical Slide Sets

Terms of Use

The In the Clinic® slide sets are owned and copyrighted by the American College of Physicians (ACP). All text, graphics, trademarks, and other intellectual property incorporated into the slide sets remain the sole and exclusive property of the ACP. The slide sets may be used only by the person who downloads or purchases them and only for the purpose of presenting them during not-for-profit educational activities. Users may incorporate the entire slide set or selected individual slides into their own teaching presentations but may not alter the content of the slides in any way or remove the ACP copyright notice. Users may make print copies for use as hand-outs for the audience the user is personally addressing but may not otherwise reproduce or distribute the slides by any means or media, including but not limited to sending them as e-mail attachments, posting them on Internet or Intranet sites, publishing them in meeting proceedings, or making them available for sale or distribution in any unauthorized form, without the express written permission of the ACP. Unauthorized use of the In the Clinic slide sets will constitute copyright infringement.

Toolkit

Want to Subscribe?

Learn more about subscription options

Advertisement
Related Articles
Related Point of Care
Topic Collections
PubMed Articles

Want to Subscribe?

Learn more about subscription options

Forgot your password?
Enter your username and email address. We'll send you a reminder to the email address on record.
(Required)
(Required)