Month: November 2012

Putting RAAPS into Practice: Center for Family Health in Jackson, MI

The Center for Family Health is a federally qualified health center that operates three school-based health centers at the elementary, middle and high school levels in Jackson, MI.

The centers use RAAPS to gather the same risk behavior information about each teen and to ensure consistency among health professionals. This allows standardization of the screening so staff are alerted to risks and can give appropriate counseling.

Michelle McCormick, a 10-year veteran of the health center, became its manager last year.  Amanda Topper, a physician assistant, is the primary user of the RAAPS system at the high school center.

Teens don’t bring up issues of risk on their own; the RAAPS allows us to get inside the heads of our teens,” Topper said.

McCormick adds that “Kids sometimes will answer questions positively in the assessment and then may shut down when the counselor tries to explore the issue.  RAAPS helps us identify risks that they may not have been able to share verbally.

Topper and McCormick said the browser-based assessment not only uncovers health-related issues, it also addresses security, data management, teen history and reporting — without needing to do anything extra.

Topper said if the RAAPS tool weren’t available counselors, in spite of their training, might not always ask the same, complete battery of questions. RAAPS provides consistency every time and captures the data electronically. McCormick said the reporting is a must-have, saving time and reducing manual effort to prepare reports by age group for the school, clinic administration, and advisory committees.

Read more about the Center for Family Health and how they put RAAPS into practice by viewing their case study.

Contact us today with questions about how to effectively integrate RAAPS into your practice!


This Thanksgiving, we give thanks to all the providers utilizing the RAAPS system and the healthy teens that you are creating.  It’s an honor to have you as part of the RAAPS community.  Your tireless work on behalf of teens inspires and motivates us.

In the spirit of this holiday, we’ve gathered testimonials that showcase the positive aspects of using the RAAPS system.  It solidifies how thankful we are that teens across the country are receiving efficient and effective screening.  High-risk behaviors are quickly identified and teens are changing self-destructive behaviors, while making better, healthier choices.  Our featured blog posts of how providers are putting RAAPS into practice will return next week.

  • –  “RAAPS has very specific questions for adolescents. We find out so many are being threatened in school and have thoughts of suicide that we did not know were having these issues.”
  • …..
  • –   “Since using the online version, I receive more “risky” answers than when I was verbally asking.”
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  • –  “RAAPS puts sensitive topics right out on the table for discussion and helps teens feel more comfortable discussing topics that impact greatly on their overall health.”
  • …..
  •   “RAAPS is an easy way to assess for a range of behaviors that would be difficult to ask about in a more open-ended format without taking a great deal of time.”
  • …..
  • –  “RAAPS allows for a more thorough risk assessment on EVERY adolescent.”
  • …..
  • –  “RAAPS makes it easier for me to come right out and ask the questions I am thinking. I think it is easier for the students to answer honestly, too.”

From all of us, Happy Thanksgiving!

Putting RAAPS into Practice: Medical Associates Clinic in Iowa

The Medical Associates Clinic, P.C., is a multi-specialty medical practice delivering primary and specialty health care to residents of the tri-state area in Dubuque, Iowa. 

Medical Associates has used the online Rapid Assessment for Adolescent Preventive Services (RAAPS) for several years to screen adolescents ages 12 – 18.  RAAPS is given annually to teens receiving physical or gyn exams and to youth for whom providers have mental health concerns.  Meyer initiated use of RAAPS at Medical Associates because of a need to address risky behaviors that often went undiagnosed and unknown.  Since starting to use RAAPS, Meyer said many teens have commented that she discovered a lot about them — including information they often don’t share when they are “just talked to.”

RAAPS works well because the kids are very honest with the computer system,” Meyer said.  “Kids were not as honest on paper, and many parents would be looking over their shoulders as they were completing it,” she said of the manual tool she used to use.

The former assessment also required her to tally results by hand, whereas RAAPS produces time-saving, highly accessible electronic reports.  “This was a wonderful improvement.  It is much more efficient and much more effective,” she said.

Meyer said the biggest value in RAAPS is that “We can now better help the kids by identifying their risky behaviors and providing counseling.  At the end of the day, isn’t that what it’s all about?  Kids have been relieved that we are asking about risky behaviors and they have the opportunity to get their concerns addressed.”

“RAAPS is now a ‘must have’ for us,” Meyer said.  “RAAPS is a great value and we have derived more benefit than what we paid for it.”

Read more about Medical Associates and how they put RAAPS into practice by viewing their case study.

Contact us today with questions about how to effectively integrate RAAPS into your practice!

Putting RAAPS into Practice: Chemawa Indian Health Center

The Chemawa Indian Health Center operates on the campus of over a century-old Native American boarding school in Salem, OR.  It’s home to as many as 400 students, who represent about 70 tribes from across the country.

The students are at risk because of their age and their culture. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among Native American teens (ages 10-34), and incidence of alcoholism, drug and tobacco use, accidents, and homicide are high.

Jennifer Behnke, a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner at the federally funded Indian Health Services clinic, works with students age 14 to 19. Before she discovered the online Rapid Assessment for Adolescent Preventative Services (RAAPS) system several years ago, the center used a 19-page, hand-written social history screening.  The teens lost interest after a few pages, staff took weeks to evaluate the results, and risk identification was greatly subjective.

“These students come in with multiple risk factors and, they require a quicker more standardized method of risk screening,” Behnke said.  “A large survey not working, nor was it effective at identifying who was at risk. So RAAPS was a requirement in my mind.”

Identifying Highest-Risk Kids on the First Day

Once RAAPS was implemented, Behnke and her colleagues could identify the highest-risk teens and schedule them for an assessment that same day. That process previously took several weeks. “These kids could be suicidal, depressed and perhaps liked to drink,” she said. “We needed to get to them quicker.”

Today, 90 percent of students take the survey annually. Every student’s demographics are entered at the beginning of the school year, allowing them to finish the RAAPS survey in 3-5 minutes.  This is accomplished by rotating them through a computer lab at the beginning of the school year.  Counselors immediately see a report that identifies which students need to be seen in the clinic right away.

The clinic staff first identifies risk based on the top questions (suicide/self-harm, depression, history of carrying weapons). Using the RAAPS reporting functions, an analysis of the entire population is done in a matter of hours and the highest-risk youth are triaged for immediate follow-up.

“This has vastly improved our overall practice. It reduces time and improves the accuracy of identifying teens at risk in a more consistent and objective way,” Behnke said. “This helps us help more kids more effectively.”

Read more about the Chemawa Indian Health Center and how they put RAAPS into practice by viewing their case study.

Contact us today with questions about how to effectively integrate RAAPS into your practice!