Personalizing treatment based on Veterans’ needs and preferences


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Dr. Eve Kerr wants to ensure that Veterans all get the care they need but not care that is unnecessary or may be harmful.

“Through my research, I have developed ways to assess when there are important gaps in care delivery and how to fix those gaps. Sometimes it means that we need to provide more care in certain circumstance for some patients,” she explains.

Kerr adds that “Other times it means that we should actually stop or scale back some of the care we are providing in order to prevent side effects of medications or tests.  What is important is that we need to personalize treatment based on individual patient needs and preferences.

“My research has sought ways both to assess the quality of care we provide to Veterans and find ways to improve it.”

Dr. Kerr is the Director of the VA Center for Clinical Management Research at the Ann Arbor Healthcare System. She is also a professor at the University of Michigan Health System.

In a recent study published in the Journal of the America Medical Association, Internal Medicine, (JAMA IM) Kerr found that “Many physicians fail to reduce blood pressure or blood sugar medication in older adults who experience very low levels of sugar or blood pressure control in response to the medication.”

Treatment Now Used Throughout VA

This and previous work led Kerr to develop new clinical action measures for cholesterol and blood pressure treatment that have been utilized throughout VA.

Better care sometimes means fewer medicines, not more. Here’s an article by Dr. Kerr and her colleagues that explains why some Veteran patients may be candidates for “drug holidays.”

Dr. Eve Kerr

Dr. Eve Kerr

They propose that changing the “more is better” mindset among both patients and providers will be essential to ensure that patients get the treatments they need but not those that are unnecessary and potentially harmful.

Kerr is well known in America and internationally for her work developing innovative methods to assess and improve quality of patient care.

Listen to Dr. Kerr speak about her research on performance measurement and quality improvement.

Reflecting on her inspiration to pursue research, she adds, “As a resident at UCLA, I saw problems in healthcare financing and delivery and wanted to figure out how to fix them so that patients could get the care they needed.

“My mentor was a health services researcher who helped me to conduct a study in my ‘spare time’ as a 2nd year medical resident.  I saw the power of health services research and I was hooked!”

“Fortunate to Serve Veterans”

Kerr and her architect husband Robert have lived in Ann Arbor, Michigan, for 20 years where they raised their two “wonderful daughters.” They love to travel and spend time “Up North” in Michigan, near Traverse City.

Dr. Kerr received the 2016 VHA Under Secretary Award for Outstanding Achievement in Health Services Research. It is the highest honor that VA’s Health Services Research and Development bestows.

On working for VA, she says, “I value being able to give back to those who have served and work in one of the greatest healthcare systems in the country. I feel fortunate to come to work every day, to be able to serve Veterans and to work with wonderful colleagues.”

Author

Hans Petersen

Hans Petersen is senior writer-editor for Digital Media, VHA Office of Communications. An Air Force Veteran, Hans also served two years in the Peace Corps and worked for 20 years in broadcasting before joining VA.

Comments

  1. Gretchen P Reinhardt    

    The SVA DBC took over and destroyed my health care plan. The DBC also destroyed the usefulness of mental health treatment from VA, thru lack of confidentiality and lack of “due process” when wrongly flagging me. I think it is also a violation of HIPAA for the DBC to plow thru my VA medical records to see what they can invent for falsely accusing me of having a history of violence, etc. Thanks to the DBC, most of my VA medical records are garbage. My treatment needs haven’t counted for much of anything since I was flagged.

    VA doesn’t care what PRFd veterans need. VA DBC never considers what negative effects DBC lies to and lies about (no DBC generated letter has ever been 100% truthful, but no one cares).

  2. Richard Lewis    

    like the gentleman above I too have need for dental care from the va. I have alot of problems and have spent thousands of dollars on my teeth also. I cannot believe that the va will take care of everything I have wrong, with me but dont take care of my teeth. the teeth can cause problems with your health also. Maybe if alot of people join together and send letters we can get the dental care that we need.

  3. Thomas F Mohnkern Sr    

    DENTAL CARE: With all the in-fighting the President, Congress, and Senate are doing, we could implement a dental plan for retired vets. The Air Force dentist and my local dentist have worked hard to keep my teeth/gums in the best shape possible. I have spent thousands of dollars since I retired to keep my teeth in good shape, but I have developed a periodontal disease of my gums, and I am in constant pain. Additionally, I am nauseated all the time, probably from infection from a pulled tooth and infection. My local dentist keeps referring me to specialist who charge hundreds of dollars an hour for specialized care. The Problem: I simply cannot afford any more dental care. I cannot believe that medical care for vets does not include dental care as good dental care does effect the rest of your physical health. DOES ANYONE KNOW WHERE I CAN GET SOME HELP?

  4. David Sunkle    

    YES THANK YOU. (NOW=IF) ONLY WE//I CAN GET MY DISABILITY FOR “AGENT ORANGE EXPOSURE”. I HAVE MORE THEN ENOUGH QUALIFYING SYMPTION’s. Diabette’s ll , Prostate Cancer, Scarred Lung’s , Heart Problem’s..I an Now (77), Still Waiting. Help.Me Please. Retired U.S.NAVY Ship=Board Viet=Nam 1967 to 1971.

  5. Shelby Flores    

    Yes Mr Cabral, you deserve it! More power to you!

  6. Shelby Flores    

    VA Budget:
    We can spend 3.3 billion on this stupid, waste of time Comey business but yet deny Veterans unemployability. Direct to you Mr Schulkin: justify that to we who’ve given mind, body and soul for our country. Have you? My guess is no. But I’m sure you”re comfortable making $200,000.00 a year.

  7. ARNOLD MILLER CABRAL    

    T0 WHOM READS THIS PLEASE CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVES AND SENATORS PASSED A NEW VETERAN BENEFIT LAW WHICH IS IF A VETERAN IS DISABLED VETERAN WHO IS COLLECTING 100 PERCENT SERVICE CONNECTED AND DEFINITELY NEED G4IMPLANTS BY A COSMETIC DENTISTRY DENTIST THAT KNOWS HOW TO PUT IN G4IMPLANTS BECAUSE THEIR IS ABSOLUTELY NOT ONE VETERAN MEDICAL CENTER WORKS FOR A VETERAN MEDICAL CENTER PLUS THEIR IS NOT ONE CONTACTED WITH VETERANS ADMINISTRATION BUT THEIR PRIVATE CLINICS THAT KNOWS HOW TO PUT IN G4IMPLANTS SO PLEASE TRY TO CONVINCE YOUR REPRESENTATIVES AND SENATORS PASSED A NEW VETERAN DISABLED VETERAN LAW EVEN THE COSMETIC DENTISTRY DENTIST THAT KNOWS HOW TO PUT IN G4IMPLANTS WANTS THE ALL THE MONEY UPFRONT THE VETERAN AFFAIRS ADMINISTRATION…REMEMBER THIS IF A VETERAN NEEDS TO HAVE G4IMPLANTS IT CAUSES OTHER HEALTHCARE PROBLEMS PLUS IT CAUSES MENTAL CONDITION WORSE…..SPREAD THE WORD PLEASE…THANKS FOR YOUR SUPP0RT.

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