A recent news release reports that the Regenstrief Institute, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Indiana University School of Medicine have collaborated in order to spearhead a national effort to coordinate and organize acute stroke care across the VA medical system. The VA reportedly launched the initiative this summer, targeting improvement in in-hospital management of stroke with an ultimate goal of reducing disability and death.

The initiative stems from research into evidence-practice gaps in care that indicated a high quality of post-acute and discharge at the VA, yet also spotlighted the potential for improvement in early stroke care, says Dawn Bravata, MD, clinical coordinator of the VA’s Stroke Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (QUERI). Bravata adds that stroke quality will initially be measured in three areas that include administration of thrombolytic clot dissolving drugs, screening for swallowing difficulties, and use of the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale in order to pinpoint key information about the severity of the stroke. 

The release notes that components of the national quality initiative have been customized to the facility type and the approaches that work in each locality. Linda Williams, MD, Regenstrief Institute investigator, QUERI research coordinator underscores the current challenges that impact stroke care improvement and outcomes, such as an aging population and expansion of hospital systems, “The VA’s experience in stroke care improvement can potentially be adapted to any health care system as a model of how care improvements can be provided in a coordinated, integrated fashion across different types of hospitals…As health care is increasingly provided by networks of multiple hospitals, this VA example can be used to show how care improvements can be translated throughout the system for the benefit of all patients,” Williams says.

Source: Indiana University School of Medicine