U.S. ARMY GARRISON-YONGSAN, SOUTH KOREA -- The Brian Allgood Army Community Hospital (BAACH) Department of Behavioral Health has been ranked first among 35 military treatment facilities (MTF) by the Office of the Surgeon General (OTSG) Behavioral Health Service Line's (BHSL) for their critical initiatives (CI). The department topped the list of compliance rates on nearly a dozen health promotion and treatment outcome measures.

With the rapidly growing volume of Army behavioral health care visits since 2003, the OTSG BHSL produced and implemented an integrated computer-based system that helps determine whether patients accessing behavioral health care were getting better and how to precisely customize their treatment.

The vehicle used was titled the Behavioral Health Data Portal (BHDP) which collected patient-reported data using standardized screening instruments, incorporated a redesigned patient and care team workflow to allow consistent monitoring, and embedded clinical decision support systems to provide individualized feedback and action at the point of care. It also tackled two of the most difficult challenges of ongoing precision care: trending symptoms over time and patient movement geographically and across various multi-disciplinary behavioral health providers.

To maximize quality outcomes, the BHSL introduced CI that gauged the effectiveness of behavioral health delivered at each MTF. These initiatives include Behavioral Health Data Portal (BHDP) provider input; anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and major depressive disorder (MDD) treatment outcomes; PTSD/MDD treatment dosage; patient access to care; provider staffing levels; and use of the BHDP by patients accessing behavioral health services.

When beneficiaries access behavioral health care at BAACH or an outlying clinic, front desk staff ensure the BHDP computer-based survey is completed before each appointment. Front desk staff also ensure that any patient newly diagnosed with key diagnoses (e.g., PTSD, MDD or an anxiety disorder) are scheduled for three follow-up appointments within 90 days. As research repeatedly shows, attending follow-up behavioral health care appointments improves most diagnoses. Additionally, department and clinic leadership teams, including group practice and nurse care managers, regularly analyze BHDP use and outcomes to maximize treatment effectiveness.

"We have been getting after BHDP CIs for about a year now and it is very rewarding to see the progress we've made thus far," said Lt. Col. Emile Wijnans, DBH's chief. "The achievement reflects a genuine team effort--from clinic chiefs, senior enlisted, providers, nurses, group practice managers, and administrative staff in all of BAACH's behavioral health clinics, to BAACH deputy and command-level leadership. BAACH's monthly clinical business forum also helps focus clinic leadership and staff on key metrics; true interlocking fields of fire."

"This is a prime example of BAACH's effort to recognize the importance of improving the mental health of our service members and military families," said Col Erica Clarkson, BAACH commander. "I am very proud of the team for performing at the highest level of care provision. BAACH will always strive to bring the best healthcare to our beneficiaries."