Tag: Risk Assessment

The Top 5 Worst Reasons Why…

We help providers, professionals, and parents, identify and reduce risk behaviors among youth and young adults. So you might imagine that in our line of work that we’ve “heard it all.”

And yes, we’ve heard a lot, but it’s not the stories and information that young people share that shocks us. It’s what we hear from youth-centric organizations (provider groups, schools, health departments…) about why they don’t screen for risk behaviors that we find flat out scary.

Here are the top 5 worst reasons we’ve heard…so far.

1. If we know about a risk we’ll be responsible to take action. At it’s core, we believe that this reason isn’t just about liability – it’s about the fear of what happens if something goes wrong. Think past that initial reaction – and it becomes obvious that we’d all feel equally terrible (and potentially, even as liable) if something goes wrong (such as an overdose, a suicide attempt, unreported abuse or bullying…) and we didn’t know about it in advance. No one is expecting you to be the expert at every risk or situation. Identifying risks in advance allows youth to “get it off their chest” and you to provide resources and when necessary referrals to the right experts who can help to prevent bad things from getting worse – or maybe even from happening at all.

2. We don’t have the time. It’s true, you always need more time. Our company was founded by a clinician with years of experience in busy pediatric and adolescent practices. Finding practical solutions that minimize impact on time and workflow is at the heart of everything we do. Did you know that in less than 5 minutes RAAPS identifies the risks that contribute most to preventable illness and death in young people aged 9 to 24? Even in the tightest of workflows in organizations that run like clockwork you’ll find a 5-minute window of wait time for the patient – why not put that time to (really meaningful) use?

3. We don’t have the money. You’ve heard that expression: “If it’s important you’ll find a way. If it’s not you’ll find an excuse.” To be fair, we think this reason is more about priorities than excuses. There are so many competing priorities for organizations that serve youth it’s hard for anything new to find it’s way to the top of the list. Think about the things that do get prioritized: vaccines; assessments of height, weight and blood pressure; current medications and allergies… Why do these things sift to the top? They save lives. Now think about this CDC statistic: risk behaviors are responsible for 3 out of 4 (75%) of all preventable deaths and illness in youth. Risk screening saves lives. And the cost? One month of access to the RAAPS system costs the same as a single case of coffee pods or printing paper. Really, we think it’s all about the priorities.

4. We don’t want to upset parents. That’s cool. Honestly, neither do we, but realistically how upset do you think parents will be if there is an uptick in bullying, an increase in youth carrying weapons, or a widespread incidence of sexual abuse that could have been identified with standardized screening? As providers of risk identification and reduction tools we have time-tested, proven strategies and resources for helping parents understand risk screening – why it’s important and how it helps. And trust us, that’s an easier conversation to have proactively than reactively.

5. We don’t know what to say. There’s no doubt: conversations about risk are uncomfortable. But did you know that having a trusted adult to confide in is one of the single most important mitigating factors in reducing youth risk? Just by being present and starting the conversation you’ve helped. So take the next step. If you are uncomfortable with discussing certain topics – get help. Participate in a workshop on adolescent-focused motivational interviewing; choose a risk screening system that offers built in health education so all youth get the same information (every time); and make sure that system provides you with evidence-based messages and talking points to help get the conversation started. Because let’s be real – saving a life significantly outweighs one uncomfortable conversation.

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.

OAH Tier Grants

If you are applying for OAH Tier 1A and/or 1B Grant Funding, partner with Possibilities for Change to enhance your proposal.  We will work with you to provide an online platform to assess your target population for risky behaviors, support risk reduction counseling efforts, track your referrals and performance, and showcase your outcomes!

Possibilities for Change offers the Rapid Assessment for Adolescent Preventive Services – Sexual Health (RAAPS-SH) standardized screening and counseling system, developed especially for sexually active adolescents. 

RAAPS-SH identifies the inter-related factors contributing most to STI and unplanned pregnancy through a teen-friendly technology based assessment; supports professionals providing risk reduction counseling and referrals; and provides comprehensive reporting to identify needs, subpopulations of risk, and behavior change over time.

RAAPS-SH Screening and Counseling System provides data to answer the tough questions:

  • -Who are the youth engaging most in unsafe sexual practices (recent sex, multiple partners, drug and alcohol use prior to sex, no condom use)?  Use this data to target youth for participation in your TPP program.
  • – What are the rates of condom use, and use of other birth control options in your targeted population? Use this data to highlight outcomes of behavior change post intervention.
  • – What additional risk behaviors are impacting teen’s sexual health decisions (depression, academic performance, violence). Use this data to implement support services and develop referral relationships in the community.
  • – How many teens received referrals for sexual health services, followed up with the referrals and received needed resources.  Customize, track and monitor referral progress on an individual and population level.

Contact us today to find out more: info@raaps.org

Celebrating Your Success: A Note of Appreciation

As we give thanks and prepare to celebrate the new year – we wanted to take a moment to appreciate you and the lives you’ve changed.  Together in the last year alone, RAAPS was used by SBHCs, University Health Centers, pediatricians and healthcare providers across the globe to:

  • – Screen nearly 30,000 adolescents and young adults for risk
  • – Identify and counsel:
    • – 6117 patients at risk for suicide and depression
    • – 2836 patients carrying weapons for protection
    • – 7359 patients who were sexually active
    • – 2488 patients who were victims of sexual violence or in abusive relationships
    • – Successfully improve the healthcare and quality of life among underserved youth
    • – And achieve positive outcomes of: increased exercise, improved eating habits, and reductions in distracted driving and drug/alcohol use…

…and we’re just getting started. Possibilities for Change (the parent company to RAAPS) was founded on the philosophy attributed to Mahatma Gandi:  “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”  Thank you for your hard work in bringing that philosophy to life by saving and improving the lives of our youth and young adults!

We’re looking forward to what we can accomplish together in the future!