Tag: RAAPS

Creating a judgement free zone…

Most professionals who work with youth try to approach each interaction with an open mind.  Research shows this is an important step to making youth feel comfortable.  What else goes into creating a safe place for youth to share?  Some of the steps are obvious – but we think a few may surprise you!  Here are 5 critical steps to creating a truly judgement-free zone…

  1. Know the law! Confidentiality laws and minor consent vary from state to state.  The first step to ensuring a youth-friendly approach is understanding the confidentiality laws in your state.  Next is implementing a workflow that integrates and accommodates these laws (including processes for everything from notification of test results to insurance billing).  It is imperative that youth understand their rights, and what will or won’t be shared with their parents.  Explaining and sharing this information goes a long way towards building trust.
  2. Be non-verbal! Well – just for the assessment, anyway.  When a risk assessment is delivered verbally, it’s our nature to jump in and talk about each risk as soon as it is identified – making it hard to get to every question.  More importantly, it’s just not in a teen’s nature to be forthcoming about risk when asked questions face-to-face.  Research shows youth respond most honestly when screened with technology – but if that is not an option, then old-school pen and paper is the next best thing.
  3. Standardize your approach! There’s a reason why every leading youth health organization recommends a validated, standardized risk assessment. As humans we have subconscious biases and deeply held personal beliefs that can influence our approach to risk screening.  This can be especially prevalent with home-grown risk assessments that are cobbled together with “select” questions pulled from a number of different tools.   A validated, standardized screening tool eliminates individual (or even organizational) culture bias and ensures all youth are screened the same way, every time.
  4. No shoulder surfing! It catches many parents off guard when their “baby” is suddenly old enough to complete a risk assessment on their own.  You may find them peering “helpfully” over their tween or teen’s shoulder.  It’s important to provide youth with a private space to complete a risk assessment.  This is an essential step in increasing honesty in youth response.  Engaging and educating parents is also important. They need to be reassured of the importance of this step in their son or daughter’s development.
  5. Watch your body! It’s easy to get so focused on youth that we forget what’s happening with our own body language.  Young people are very sensitive to non-verbals – and they are looking for any signs that you might be judging them (however unintentional those signs may be on our part!)  So avoid little things like crossing your arms, narrowing your eyes, or raising an eyebrow.  (And the same rules apply to your tone and speech.)

For more information, the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine has some helpful resources on confidentiality and this case study highlights effective adolescent workflows across three very different settings.

Click here to learn more about RAAPS – a standardized, validated, and technology-based risk screening system developed especially for youth (and the providers and professionals that work with them)

Getting to “Why?”

How boot-camp took us back to the future.

Our team recently went through a strategic planning “boot-camp” as part of a grant requirement.  A mandatory part of the exercise was justifying our value…what do we bring to the table, how do we help?

This was definitely a test.   Our short answers, in rapid succession:

  • “Because 75% of serious illness and death in youth is preventable…”
  • “Because nearly half of all youth who commit suicide visited a healthcare provider within the previous month…”
  • “Umm…because it’s the right thing to do?”

We were pushed further: “What is in it for your users – the healthcare provider, the professional working with youth?  How are you helping them?”

Ahhh – there it was, the lightbulb moment!

Preventing avoidable illness and death in youth is our mission – it’s the reason why we do what we do.  It’s the same mission that drives most of us in this work.

But making it as easy as possible for providers and professionals, to identify and counsel youth on the risky behaviors that drive our mission…making it painless…THAT is the reason behind WHY we’ve created every single solution and service we offer.

It’s the reason why RAAPS was created in the first place.  It was our first “tool”. RAAPS was developed to solve all of the workflow and practice management issues that get in the way of your mission:

  • Validated, short-format. Why? Your time is short – RAAPS has been proven to identify the most significant risks – in minutes.
  • Why? To ensure every youth is screened the same way – with the same questions – every time.
  • Tablet / smartphone delivery. Why? Youth engage honestly with technology – you don’t have to “ask” all of the questions – instead you can use your time to follow up on the risks identified.
  • Prioritized, evidence-based talking points. Why?  To make it easier to get the conversation started specific to the risks identified – we all have different experience and comfort levels with risk topics.

Yes, we could go on…  but back to boot-camp.  It was a great experience – if for no other reason than it reminded us of why we continue to develop our technology… facilitate the adolescent-focused MI trainings… write the books…. Why we got started and where we are going into the future – as we achieve our mission together with all of you!

Why RAAPS?

RAAPS versus GAPS and other homegrown risk screening tools

People pose the “why?” question every day. Why should I invest the time, energy and resources into an adolescent risk screening and counseling technology? We may be biased, but our answer is simple: why not?

Before we dive into the several reasons why thousands of sites nationwide find tremendous value of integrating RAAPS into their practice or program, here is the 140-character, tweet-friendly definition of RAAPS: a standardized, validated risk assessment and behavior change counseling tool to support health professionals working with adolescents.

In simplified language, we make it easy for health professionals to do their job. We partner with clinicians, counselors and other providers who are passionate about improving adolescent health. Our partners—like school-based health centers, pediatric offices, sexual health clinics, schools, etc.—operate within a preventative-oriented culture (not crisis-oriented) and genuinely care about identifying risks, improving outcomes and changing lives. It’s not for the faint of heart.

RAAPS can make you money

“Say what?!” (Please excuse our language. Sometimes we find the way teens speak kind of catchy.) Yes, our leading risk assessments can save you money. How?

  • RAAPS dramatically improves the productivity of your existing staff and the effectiveness of your operations. You will no longer have to sit face-to-face with your patient, ask the sometimes-awkward questions, record the data, then figure out how to best counsel the patient to promote positive behavior change. RAAPS saves a provider’s time by flagging potential risk behaviors and offering health message talking points to guide the conversation.
  • By using a standardized, validated tool (RAAPS) to screen adolescents each month, the cloud-based system may be able to pay for itself. Assuming an average insurance reimbursement rate of $5 per administration, your sites would need to use the system with only 10 patients per month in order to recover the cost of using the system. #winning

RAAPS’ real-time tracking and easy to use reporting measures outcomes

Can your risk screening tool do this? If it’s not RAAPS, the answer is likely no. Access to individual and population data allows you to identify trends and assess your intervention effectiveness. Plus, data gathered can be helpful when applying for grants and gaining additional funding.

RAAPS asks the right questions

The risk landscape is always changing and unfortunately widening, which is why we continue to update or modify our questions to elicit honest responses from teens. Other risk screening tools, such as GAPS, hasn’t been updated since the early 2000’s. The way teens speak and the risks they’re involved in have changed drastically since the era of Boy Meets World and Backstreet Boys. At Possibilities for Change, we continue to identify issues and areas that are harmful to a teen’s health and well-being. One of the many beautiful things about RAAPS is that all questions are scientifically validated—and we used teens to help us refine the actual questions so that they were more understandable and relevant! Unlike most homegrown tools, the RAAPS youth-friendly patient portal includes audio and bilingual health messages features to increase health literacy.

The 21-question RAAPS assessment falls within seven risk categories identified by the CDC as contributing to adolescent morbidity and mortality. The Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine has our back, citing RAAPS as one of their important resources, handouts, toolkits and treatment protocols for healthcare providers to use in their practices.

In our fast-paced, technology-driven world, the manner and method of how we ask is just as important as what we ask. When it comes to discussions around things like sexual behavior and alcohol use, teens are more honest and comfortable answering to a tablet or other technology than an adult. The assessment takes about 5 minutes to complete—a better alternative to other assessments out there that take more than a half hour. Ain’t nobody got time for that! (We warned you.)

Learn more about RAAPS at possibilitiesforchange.com or drop us a line at info@pos4chg.org.

Spotlight: RAAPS 2.0!

Happy New Year! At Possibilities for Change, we couldn’t be more thrilled about all the exciting developments 2016 has in store! For our first blog post of the new year we’d like to share with you the new and improved RAAPS 2.0. In the spirit of continual improvement, we have been pouring over user feedback. Taking what we learned from your suggestions we have developed and implemented new features that will help to tailor the 2.0 system to your clients’ individual needs. Over the next few months we will unpack these new features for you to better showcase their benefit to the RAAPS system and, ultimately, you!

The first of these new features we’d like to shine our spotlight on is our new counselor interface with tailored dashboard. This interface will provide counselors with a comprehensive view of the risk behaviors of the adolescents’ they see. The dashboard comes complete with an overview of previous and current risk behavior responses from individual teens, messages tailored to support your counseling on the specific, identified risk behaviors, and a section to log behavior change goals discussed as part of your risk reduction counseling.

So, why is this important?

Well, at Possibilities for Change we recognize health and wellness professionals have heavy caseloads. We also recognize that each individual adolescent is unique. Our new counselor interface with tailored dashboard promotes efficiency and quality, individualized care. Counselors now have one location where they can view and log all relevant risk behavior information for specific clients as well as access evidence-based information and messages customized to suit their clients’ needs.

We could talk for hours about all of the new benefits we’ve built into RAAPS 2.0 but we’d rather you check out the improvements for yourself – after all, your feedback fueled the change!

If you’d like to check out RAAPS 2.0, now is the perfect time! Please contact us to set up a demo. We can’t wait to walk you through the new system and its user friendly features.

Continual Quality Improvement – For You! (And the youth and young adults you work with.)

Health and wellness professionals are in constant pursuit of quality improvement. And we’re here to support your efforts.  Possibilities for Change – the parent company for RAAPS – is implementing several new improvements to help make the identification and reduction of risk behaviors even easier and more effective:

Coming Soon:  RAAPS 2.0 – A new platform, new look and feel – and most importantly, new features!

We’re in the final phases of development on a new platform for the RAAPS system.  While the original features that made RAAPS so effective will still be there, we’re adding functionality designed to make the system even more engaging and user-friendly.  Just a few of these new features:

New Counselor Interface with a Tailored Dashboard: The upgraded system will provide counselors with a view of just the youth or young adults that they are managing – to facilitate risk management and referral tracking.  After selecting an individual, the counselor can see a full dashboard just for that patient which provides a comprehensive but easy to use overview, including any:

– Previously identified risks and/or newly identified risks (and the changes over time)
– Evidence-base messages to support counseling for those risks
– Behavior change goals that were discussed, and brief summaries of logged notes from current and previous sessions

In addition, shortly after the platform launch, two new counselor-support modules will be available for smoking cessation and sexual health counseling.

Full optimization for all internet-enabled devices – RAAPS has always made it engaging for youth and young adults to complete the survey via a laptop or hand-held tablet in the waiting room (allowing the counselor to know critical risks before the appointment begins).  And now the RAAPS survey can be easily completed via smartphone (a must-have accessory for our younger generation).

Upgraded reporting and administration– RAAPS individual and population based risk tracking and outcomes reporting will be enhanced with new easy to read, “at-a-glance” formats, complete with charts and several new built-in reports – which were selected based on user feedback.  The administrative interface will be upgraded to allow multiple levels of administrative access – and the designation and tracking of multiple groups or sites within an organization.

The transition for current RAAPS users should be smooth – with minimal training required. We’re expecting to launch the new platform by mid-May – and will be reaching out to all current users with educational materials (including a step-by-step user guide and a training webinar) in the next few weeks.

If you’ve been thinking about using RAAPS – now is the perfect time! Please contact us to set up a demo and we’ll be happy to walk you through the new system and features.