Applications of Methodologies of the Veterans Health Study in the VA Healthcare System: Conclusions and Summary

Document Type


Publication Date



Delivery of Health Care, Health Surveys, Surveys and Questionnaires, United States, United States Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans

Publication Title

The Journal of Ambulatory Care Management


The Veterans Health Study (VHS) had as its overarching goal the development, testing, and application of patient-centered assessments for monitoring patient outcomes in ambulatory care in large integrated care systems such as the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Unlike other previous studies, the VHS has capitalized on rich administrative databases restricted to the VA and linked to patient-centered outcomes. The VHS has developed a comprehensive set of general and disease-specific measures for use by systems of care for ambulatory patients. Chief among these assessments is the Veterans SF-36 Health Survey for measuring health-related quality of life in veteran ambulatory populations. The Veterans SF-36 Health Survey provides the cornerstone for this study and historically has been extensively disseminated and used in the VA with close to 2 million administrations nationally as part of its quality management system. National surveys administered by the VA since 1996 using the Veterans SF-36 Health Survey indicate important regional differences with implications for varying resource needs. Based upon the rich foundation provided by the VHS methodology, the VA has implemented some of these approaches as part of its quality monitoring system and can serve as a model for other large integrated systems of care.