Online Program

Developing a Relationship Focused Culture of Care in the Veterans Health Administration

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Elizabeth Gifford, PhD, Substance Use Disorder Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (SUD QUERI), Veteran's Health Administration Palo Alto Health Care System, Menlo Park, CA
Sara Tavakoli, MPH, Substance Use Disorder Quality Enhancement Research Initiative, Veterans Health Administration, Menlo Park, CA
Rebecca Stephens, Center for Innovation to Implementation, Veterans Health Administration, Menlo Park, CA
Simona Stolpner, MHA, Program Evaluation and Resource Center, Veterans Health Administration, Menlo Park, CA
Karen Oliver, MS, Veterans Health Administration, Providence, RI
Catherine Barry, PhD, Program Evaluation and Resource Center, VA Palo Alto HCS, Menlo Park, CA
Background: Evaluators in the Veteran’s Health Administration (VHA) developed a leadership-driven training program to engage staff in VHA core values and in exemplifying these values in responsive relationships with Veterans.  VHA Voices was adapted from the South Central Foundation’s (SCF) Nuka Core Concepts program, a critical component of their award-winning workforce development approach associated with improved health outcomes, patient and staff satisfaction, and reduced cost of care. The purpose of this evaluation was to measure perceived impacts of the VHA Voices training program at five pilot VHA medical centers.

Methods: Five pilot sites across the country were selected in 2014. The impact of the training on participant knowledge, attitudes and self-efficacy regarding relationships with co-workers, veterans and the organization were measured using electronic questionnaires administered to participants prior to, immediately after, and 2 months post-training.  Data were analyzed using repeated measures ANOVA.

Results: 266 participants completed the pre- and post-training surveys and 161 completed the 2 months post-training survey. Results indicate significant improvement in 6 out of 7 High-Performing Workplaces items (e.g., "Members of my work group communicate well with each other") and other organizational climate items.  Fifteen of 17 items related to relationships with co-workers and Veterans and connection to VHA’s mission also showed significant improvement at both post-training assessments.

Conclusion:  The VHA Voices program is engineered to support culture change by reintroducing a focus on relationships to inspire meaningful employee engagement.  This initial evaluation indicates that VHA Voices has a significant impact on participating employees.

Learning Areas:

Administration, management, leadership
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice

Learning Objectives:
Describe the importance of social context in healthcare settings. Identify core elements of a program designed to engineer change in social context in Veterans Health Administration Medical Centers. Discuss the perceived impact of the VHA Voices training program.

Keyword(s): Evaluation, Organizational Change

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a program evaluation at the VA Program Evaluation and Resource Center (PERC). For the VA Voices project, I developed the data collection methodology and drove data collection throughout the duration of the evaluation. I worked on both the qualitative and quantitative data analysis and assisted with final reports.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.