VA To Run Massive Survey of High-Risk Vets

A wheelchair sits outside the Atlanta VA Medical Center in Atlanta.

A wheelchair sits outside the Atlanta VA Medical Center in Atlanta. David Goldman/AP File Photo

Electronic medical records don’t always tell the full story of a veteran’s healthcare.

Today’s electronic health records rarely tell a patient’s complete story, and the Veterans Affairs Department could benefit from knowing about the social and behavioral factors affecting patients outside the clinic, a new project posits.

The VA is considering surveying 10,000 veterans across the country about any factors in their lives that might predict whether they’ll be admitted to a hospital, and might help the VA understand which characteristics can be linked to success in certain types of interventions, care teams and specialized treatment.

The “Interconnected Factors that Influence Health, Experiences and Needs” or the “IF-THEN” program would require a vendor to conduct the survey, hire and train all personnel involved, and track who opts in and out of the questionnaire. The VA would also need a “Temporary Authority to Operate” for the duration of the survey, according to the solicitation.

A form filed to the Office of Management and Budget describing the IF-THEN survey, which appears to have been submitted by VA researchers, specifically counts “life stressors, perceived locus of control, grit, resilience, functional status, social support and loneliness, sleep problems, symptoms, insecurity and patient activation” among factors they would ask veterans to report on.

The VA requested any source that could meet the survey administration requirements to send in a capability statement by Nov. 13.

Nextgov has requested more information from the VA.