QUERI – Quality Enhancement Research Initiative

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Innovators Network – Population Factors, Organizational Capacity, Workflow and Resources (INPOWR)

Bedford, MA, Durham, NC, Palo Alto, CA, and Portland OR


The VHA Innovators Network (iNET) is one of the signature programs of the VHA "Innovation Ecosystem." The VHA Innovators Network seeks to empower employees to implement, disseminate, and sustain innovative programs to serve Veterans. The Network teaches and trains VA employees on innovation-related competencies, creates an innovation development pathway through the Spark-Seed-Spread (S-S-S) funding program, and supports the Diffusion of Excellence Initiative (the other signature program of the VHA Innovation Ecosystem which helps identify and disseminate best practices).

Innovators Network – Population Factors, Organizational Capacity, Workflow and Resources (INPOWR)
The Network also provides:

  • Dedicated Innovation Specialists
  • Training to develop core competencies and toolkits
  • Engagement and outreach to support innovation development, beginning with prototype development, through pilot initiative and finally deployment and implementation.

This expanding Network now includes 32 sites nationwide along with over 20 ‘finalist’ sites who engage in a subset of Network activities.

The INPOWR Partnered Evaluation project is designed to provide rapid and frequent feedback to iNET partners by: helping our partners to understand who participates in Innovators Network, why they participate (expectations for impact at the site and project level), and what level of impact is attained through participation at a site- and project-level. Specific aims include:

  • Examine Innovators Network site characteristics and expectations for impact (site
  • and project levels).
  • Measure the impact of Innovators Network site participation, using mixed-methods.
  • Measure the impact of Innovators Network projects, including factors associated
  • with success, sustainability and return on investment.


INPOWR investigators will employ both quantitative and qualitative methods – and will form the foundation for defining the impact of the Innovators Network and resulting projects. These efforts include measuring the impact of Innovators Network SITE participation, using mixed-methods, at the site level, and supplementing their analyses, as needed, with survey data on employee experience and workforce retention. Concurrent with this work, INPOWR investigators will develop and test a measure of innovation climate to be employed at Network sites. In addition, they will assess factors associated with success, sustainability and return on investment (ROI), using metrics for success that were developed in the first phase of this project.

Anticipated Impacts:

Knowledge gained from this evaluation will continue to inform and improve the ongoing implementation of iNET.

Operations Partner(s): VHA Innovators Network

Principal Investigator: Sarah Cutrona, MD, Bedford MA (Sarah.Cutrona@va.gov )(corresponding PI); George Jackson, PhD, MHA, Durham, NC (George.Jackson3@va.gov ); Anita Vashi, MD, MPH, MHS, Palo Alto, CA (Anita.Vashi@va.gov ); and Anais Tuepker, PhD, MPH, Portland, OR (Anita.Tuepker@va.gov ).