Overview of the VA Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (QUERI) and QUERI theme articles: QUERI Series

Implement Sci. 2008 Feb 15;3:8. doi: 10.1186/1748-5908-3-8.


Background: Continuing challenges to timely adoption of evidence-based clinical practices in healthcare have generated intense interest in the development and application of new implementation methods and frameworks. These challenges led the United States (U.S.) Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to create the Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (QUERI) in the late 1990s. QUERI's purpose was to harness VA's health services research expertise and resources in an ongoing system-wide effort to improve the performance of the VA healthcare system and, thus, quality of care for veterans. QUERI in turn created a systematic means of involving VA researchers both in enhancing VA healthcare quality, by implementing evidence-based practices, and in contributing to the continuing development of implementation science. The efforts of VA researchers to improve healthcare delivery practices through QUERI and related initiatives are documented in a growing body of literature. The scientific frameworks and methodological approaches developed and employed by QUERI are less well described. A QUERI Series of articles in Implementation Science will illustrate many of these QUERI tools. This Overview article introduces both QUERI and the Series.

Methods: The Overview briefly explains the purpose and context of the QUERI Program. It then describes the following: the key operational structure of QUERI Centers, guiding frameworks designed to enhance implementation and related research, QUERI's progress and promise to date, and the Series' general content. QUERI's frameworks include a core set of steps for diagnosing and closing quality gaps and, simultaneously, advancing implementation science. Throughout the paper, the envisioned involvement and activities of VA researchers within QUERI Centers also are highlighted. The Series is then described, illustrating the use of QUERI frameworks and other tools designed to respond to implementation challenges.

Conclusion: QUERI's simultaneous pursuit of improvement and research goals within a large healthcare system may be unique. However, descriptions of this still-evolving effort, including its conceptual frameworks, methodological approaches, and enabling processes, should have applicability to implementation researchers in a range of health care settings. Thus, the Series is offered as a resource for other implementation research programs and researchers pursuing common goals in improving care and developing the field of implementation science.