The Role of Organizational Factors in the Provision of Comprehensive Women's Health in the Veterans Health Administration
BACKGROUND: Increasing numbers of women veterans present an organizational challenge to a health care system that historically has served men. Women veterans require comprehensive women's health services traditionally not provided by the Veterans Health Administration.
OBJECTIVE: Examine the association of organizational factors and adoption of comprehensive women's health care.
STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional analysis of the 2007 Veterans Health Administration National Survey of Women Veterans Health Programs and Practices.
METHODS: Dependent measures included a) model of women's health care: separate women's health clinic (WHC), designated women's health provider in primary care (DWHP), both (WHC+DWHP), or neither and b) the availability of five women's health services: cervical cancer screening and evaluation and management of vaginitis, menstrual disorders, contraception, and menopause. Exposure variables were organizational factors drawn from the Greenhalgh model of diffusion of innovations including measures of structure, absorptive capacity, and system readiness for innovation.
RESULTS: The organizational factors of a gynecology clinic, an academic affiliation with a medical school, a women's health representative on one or more high-impact committees, and a greater caseload of women veterans were more common at sites with WHCs and WHC+DWHPs, compared with sites relying on general primary care with or without a DWHP. Academic affiliation and high-impact committee involvement remained significant in multivariable analysis. Sites with WHCs or WHC+DWHPs were more likely to offer all five women's health services.
CONCLUSION: Facilities with greater apparent absorptive capacity (academic affiliation and women's health representation on high-impact committees) are more likely to adopt WHCs. Facilities with separate WHCs are more likely to deliver a package of women's health services, promoting comprehensive care for women veterans.