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Comparative Logic Modeling for Policy Analysis: The Case of HIV Testing Policy Change at the Department of Veterans Affairs

Keywords. Evidence-based practice; HIV; health policy; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S.); Veterans Affairs (U.S.)

Objective. Logic models have been used to evaluate policy programs, plan projects, and allocate resources. Logic Modeling for policy analysis has been used rarely in health services research but can be helpful in evaluating the content and rationale of health policies. Comparative Logic Modeling is used here on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) policy statements from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We created visual representations of proposed HIV screening policy components in order to evaluate their structural logic and research-based justifications.

Data Sources and Study Design. We performed content analysis of VA and CDC HIV testing policy documents in a retrospective case study.

Data Collection. Using comparative Logic Modeling, we examined the content and primary sources of policy statements by the VA and CDC. We then quantified evidence-based causal inferences within each statement.

Principal Findings. VA HIV testing policy structure largely replicated that of the CDC guidelines. Despite similar design choices, chosen research citations did not overlap. The agencies used evidence to emphasize different components of the policies.

Conclusion. Comparative Logic Modeling can be used by health services researchers and policy analysts more generally to evaluate structural differences in health policies and to analyze research-based rationales used by policy makers.

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