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HSR&D Center for Health Information and Communication (CHIC)


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CHIC Research Areas of Focus

Focus Area 1

Lead by: Thomas Imperiale, M.D.

The overarching goal of Focus Area 1 is to advance the use of HIT as a knowledge management tool to improve healthcare processes and outcomes for individual patients, populations and VA’s healthcare system.  The specific aim of this focus area is to generate knowledge about the utility of newly designed tools that integrate data (e.g. from the EHR, medical resources and patients’ preferences) and test HIT-based tools to streamline data collection, integration, and presentation, integrate patient-specific data and information (e.g. co-morbidities, patients’ preferences) with clinical knowledge (e.g. guidelines, evidence-based consensus statements, valid evidence), leading to patient-centered decision-making; and to provide high-quality care consistent with clinical guidelines and the standard of care.


Focus Area 2

Lead by: Richard Frankel, Ph.D.

This focus area will identify interpersonal approaches to information exchange during handoffs and transitions of care that maximize patient safety.  The objectives are to understand sources of variation in electronic, face-to-face, and written health information exchanged during handoffs and transitions of care; use complexity theory to understand the cognitive, contextual and organizational factors that account for variation; and design and implement interventions to improve transitions of care and Veterans’ outcomes.


Research Outside Focus Areas

Lead by: Angela Rollins, Ph.D.

This goal is to translate health services research into clinical practice.  Our objectives are to conduct effectiveness studies and implementation studies, and advance research methods pertaining to effectiveness and implementation.  Ultimately, the aim of this work is to improve VA healthcare quality and advance knowledge required to bring interventions more successfully from effectiveness studies into actual practice.


Mentoring and Career Development

Lead by: Teresa Damush, Ph.D.

The overriding goal of our Center’s mentoring program and career development plan is to develop skilled researchers who aspire to improve healthcare.  With this goal in mind, coupled with several of the Center’s other goal area – health information and communication, applied informatics, transitions of care, effectiveness trials and implementation research – our mentoring and career development objectives are as follows:

  • Engage fellows/trainees in mentored research projects in CHIC goal areas
  • Develop junior investigators with expertise and methodological skills aligned with CHIC goal areas
  • Successfully transition fellows to VA Career Development Awards (CDA)
  • Develop CDA awardees into HSR&D Merit Review Principal Investigator
  • Enhance the mentoring skills and abilities of CHIC investigators and mentors
  • Provide mentoring to junior investigators from other institutions (i.e. distance mentoring)


Cross-Medical Center Collaboration

Lead by: Michael Weiner, M.D., MPH

Leverage the benefits of collaborative research relationships; speed the advancement of HIT application by collaborating with VA scientists from other medical centers to spark innovation and creative use of limited resources.