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Quality, Safety & Value


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Public Health Surveillance and Research (PHSR)

The Public Health Surveillance and Research (PHSR) division aligns with the office of Quality, Safety and Value's mission to enhance the quality, safety, reliability, and value of VHA's clinical systems in several key ways.  

Primary functions are to:

  • Conduct continuous and ongoing VHA system-wide public health surveillance, thereby serving as the early warning system to VHA of impending public health emergencies;
  • Promote and support public health surveillance and reporting by VHA facilities through development and dissemination of the Public Health Reporting Toolkit, and by maintaining close ties with local, state and federal agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC);
  • Conduct epidemiological investigations and lookbacks (lookbacks are an organized process for identifying patients and/or staff with exposure to potential risk);
  • Operate the Public Health Reference Laboratory which, as VA's primary reference microbiology laboratory, enables VA to rapidly conduct specialized and/or high volume lab diagnostic tests with little lead time notice in response to clinical care needs, public health investigation and/or health emergencies;
  • Provide expert opinion and review on policies generated inside and outside VA;
  • Provide subject matter expertise and scientific research on a wide variety of public health issues, and develop products to inform and instruct VA staff on public health policies and procedures.

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