The Veterans Health Administration’s Traumatic Brain Injury Screen and Evaluation: Practice Patterns

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brain injuries, concussion, Department of Veterans Affairs, diagnosis, mass screening, practice patterns, practice variation, TBI, traumatic brain injury evaluation, traumatic brain injury screening

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The goals of this study were to describe clinical practice patterns associated with the Veterans Health Administration’s (VHA’s) Comprehensive Traumatic Brain Injury Evaluation (CTBIE) and determine whether practice patterns vary by patient, provider, or facility characteristics. Veterans (N = 614) who had initial healthcare visits between 2008 and 2011 and who had previously completed the VHA’s traumatic brain injury (TBI) screen and subsequent CTBIE were drawn from a national database. Participants were primarily male (95%) with a mean age of 29.8 yr (standard deviation = 8). Chart reviews were conducted on a random sample of charts with completed CTBIEs from 21 sites. Using a cross-sectional design, patientand facility-specific variables were investigated as potential predictors of practice variation. During the study period, 79% of patients in this national sample were screened within 1 d of their initial healthcare visit and 65% were evaluated via CTBIE within 30 d of screening. Provider and participant characteristics were generally not associated with timeliness. The CTBIE was completed by individuals versus teams at comparable rates. Much of what occurred during the evaluation, beyond TBI-specific procedures, were medical assessments, such as review of medications and other substances.

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JRRD, v. 53, issue 6, p. 767-780