Creating a roadmap for delivering gender-sensitive comprehensive care for women Veterans: results of a national expert panel

Med Care. 2015 Apr;53(4 Suppl 1):S156-64. doi: 10.1097/MLR.0000000000000307.


Background: Women Veterans are a significant minority of users of the VA healthcare system, limiting provider and staff experience meeting their needs in environments historically designed for men. The VA is nonetheless committed to ensuring that women Veterans have access to comprehensive care in environments sensitive to their needs.

Objectives: We sought to determine what aspects of care need to be tailored to the needs of women Veterans in order for the VA to deliver gender-sensitive comprehensive care.

Research design: Modified Delphi expert panel process.

Subjects: Eleven clinicians and social scientists with expertise in women's health, primary care, and mental health.

Measures: Importance of tailoring over 100 discrete aspects of care derived from the Institute of Medicine's definition of comprehensive care and literature-based domains of sex-sensitive care on a 5-point scale.

Results: Panelists rated over half of the aspects of care as very-to-extremely important (median score 4+) to tailor to the needs of women Veterans. The panel arrived at 14 priority recommendations that broadly encompassed the importance of (1) the design/delivery of services sensitive to trauma histories, (2) adapting to women's preferences and information needs, and (3) sex awareness and cultural transformation in every facet of VA operations.

Conclusions: We used expert panel methods to arrive at consensus on top priority recommendations for improving delivery of sex-sensitive comprehensive care in VA settings. Accomplishment of their breadth will require national, regional, and local strategic action and multilevel stakeholder engagement, and will support VA's national efforts at improving customer service for all Veterans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Comprehensive Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Delphi Technique
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Organizational Policy
  • United States
  • United States Department of Veterans Affairs*
  • Veterans Health*
  • Women's Health*