Quality Enhancement Research Initiative in Mental Health

Published in: Medical Care, v. 38, no. 6, June 2000, suppl., p. I70-I80

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2000

by Ellen P. Fischer, Stephen R. Marder, G. Richard Smith, Richard R. Owen, Lisa V. Rubenstein, Susan C. Hedrick, Geoffrey M. Curran

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The Veterans Administration (VA) recently introduced its Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (QUERI) to facilitate the translation of best practices into usual clinical care. The Mental Health QUERI (MHQ) was charged with developing strategic plans for major depressive disorder (MDD) and schizophrenia. Twenty percent or more of VA service users are affected by 1 of these 2 disorders, disorders that often have a devastating impact on affected individuals. Despite the increasing availability of efficacious treatments for each disorder, substantial gaps remain between best practices and routine care. In this context, the MHQ identified steps critical to the success of a sustained process of rapid-cycle health care improvement for MDD and schizophrenia, including research initiatives to close gaps in knowledge of best treatment practices, demonstration projects to close gaps in practice and to expand understanding of effective strategies for implementing clinical guidelines, targeted enhancements of the VA information system, and research and dissemination initiatives to increase the availability of resources to support the accelerated incorporation of best practices into routine care. This article presents an overview of the elements in the initial MHQ strategic plans and the rationale behind them.

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