FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. - The new Behavioral Health Data Portal is scheduled for launch for selected behavioral healthcare providers at the General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital Behavioral Health Department by Dec. 15, 2012.

BHDP is a collaborative, web-based tool designed to empower patients by giving them a greater voice in their treatment. The portal efficiently connects the patient, provider, and the Army's healthcare system, effectively giving new meaning to the phrase "patient-centered care" here.

With BHDP, providers receive timely feedback on their patients' progress and are able to make better informed decisions on the treatment process. The message to patients is that the Army recognizes that patient feedback is important.

The BHDP approach allows patients to bring to the table the information that only they can provide. It is based on the patient's self-reported feedback, to include answers to social, medical, and family history questionnaires.

Using the web-based treatment quality management tool, patients are asked to complete brief behavioral health screening tools to assess distress and other symptoms pertaining to specific behavioral health disorders. Patients' responses are used by providers to facilitate assessment and treatment.

The BHDP gives the patient in a more active role throughout their care by allowing him/her to have a direct say in their treatment.

Patient-focused research has been a driving force in behavioral healthcare for over 10 years and has now become a major player in an Army-wide program that will be used to track patients' clinical outcomes in behavioral health treatment.

How will the BHDP present the data collected from patients to providers?

The BHDP will track treatment progress from start to end of treatment. It will also warn providers when the patients are not meeting the expected treatment response and need adjustments to the current approach to care.

The information gathered from BHDP assessments will be displayed for providers via color-coded graphs immediately following the patient's completion. This will allow for timely discussion of the results with the patient.

The initial completion of BHDP initiation paperwork may take up to 20 minutes and will gather baseline information from the patient. However, following the initial BHDP completion, future assessments will be personalized for each patient. This will reduce the number of assessments given in future administrations and ensure maximum efficiency. Follow up BHDP questionnaires are expected to take about five minutes to complete.

In addition to direct patient feedback to providers, the BHDP will serve as a portal through which patient treatment information will be linked with other medical management tools currently used. These computer-based systems are used to manage profiles, medical evaluation boards, and wounded warrior transitions.

A future goal is to have the BHDP also linked with deployment health assessments. The coordination between these systems will facilitate service members' transitions to other duty assignments or health care settings with greater continuity of care.

How will the BHDP be beneficial for us (patient, providers, and the Army)?

Each individual is different and reacts to the same treatment at a different pace. By capturing this progress, or lack of progress, the behavioral healthcare provider can make the adjustments necessary to guide the patient back on track towards recovery.

Behavioral healthcare providers will be able to use the BHDP as an additional tool to measure clinical outcomes and wellness for their patients.

How will the data obtained through the BHDP be managed to ensure the patient's privacy is protected?

All patient information obtained through the BHDP will be protected in accordance with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Protected Health Information (PHI) requirements.

The BHDP patient responses will be transferred through a secure web-server. In addition, access to all information on the BHDP will be limited to the patient and his/her provider(s). This includes electronically transferring access to the patient's information to a new provider when there is a provider change.

This BHDP transfer of patient information will assist in continuity of care. The new provider will have information they need to take over the patient's treatment at his/her fingertips.

When and where will active duty behavioral health patients see the BHDP?

The BHDP will be administered to active duty patients and active duty adult beneficiaries. It is slated to be implemented progressively until it reaches full implementation with a target date of spring 2013.

The BHDP will be conveniently and privately administered via computer notebooks while patients are waiting to be seen at the behavioral health department waiting area.

What providers at other military bases are saying about the BHDP…

The BHDP is currently an active portal at various Army military treatment facilities throughout the United States.

BHDP is a great program for many reasons.

"So helpful! It gives us the whole picture of what's going on in the life of the Soldier and a perspective of how the Soldier is doing across time, said Dr. Kelly Bickel, psychologist and BHDP coordinator for the Pacific Region.

"As a psychologist, I can make an informed decision about whether someone should deploy or is fit for duty, based on a variety of information sources, synthesized for ease of review in BHDP," said Bickel. "In addition, it speeds up my documentation in the medical record so I'm also able to spend significantly more time seeing patients. I love it," added Bickel.

(Editor's note: Juliza A. Ramirez-Wylie, M.Ed. and Angela Garrett, M.Ed., are Psychology Technicians at the Behavioral Health Department, General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital)