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Defense Health Network Central Garners Top Honors for Ready Reliable Care Initiatives

Image of Defense Health Network Central garners top honors for Ready Reliable Care initiatives. Airmen from the 59th Medical Wing practice detecting seizures during a national disaster response exercise on Camp Bramble at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, March 3, 2023. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Melody Bordeaux)

SAN ANTONIO, Texas, Feb. 13, 2024 – Four teams from Defense Health Network Central will be celebrated for their exceptional efforts to improve the Military Health System during a ceremony, Feb. 15, 2024.

Dr. Lester Martinez-Lopez, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, and Defense Health Agency Director Lt. Gen. Telita Crosland will present the Ready Reliable Care High Reliability Organization Awards to the winning teams, which include DHN Central’s 673rd Medical Group, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson; 377th Medical Group, Kirtland Air Force Base; and Brooke Army Medical Center, Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston.

Each year, the Department of Defense recognizes innovations and initiatives across the enterprise that improve health, build readiness and resilience, and demonstrate excellence, according to the program’s website. Ready Reliable Care is DHA’s approach to fostering a high reliability culture, which is one that strives for zero patient harm, embraces feedback and open communication, and consistently delivers safe, high-quality care.

In 2023, the DOD received 52 nominations and selected 13 winning abstracts, comprising over 100 team members, for the following award categories: Continuous Process Improvement, Culture of Safety, Leadership Commitment, and Patient Centeredness. Of the 13 awards, DHN Central teams took home four – two Patient Centeredness Awards, a Continuous Process Improvement Award, and a Leadership Commitment Award.

The following are the DHN Central winning teams and abstracts:

Continuous Process Improvement Award

-- Winning Abstract: “Using Rapid Response EEG Technology in Simulated Austere Environments” by the 673rd Medical Group, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. Team: Air Force Lt. Col. Adam Willis, Air Force Maj. Morgan Jordan, Air Force Maj. Kelsey Cacic, Air Force Maj. Jess Anderson, Air Force Maj. Jacob Van Orman, Air Force Capt. Joshua Luster, Air Force Capt. William Hoffman, Air Force Capt. Zachari Tchopev, Dr. Tony Yuan and Elijah Miranda.

This abstract focuses on the need for electroencephalogram (EEG) capabilities in austere locations or while in flight to bridge the gap between initial brain injury diagnosis, when patients are vulnerable to non-convulsive seizures, and arrival at a receiving hospital. Their study involved training medics on the use of a Rapid Response EEG headset to better diagnose seizures during medical transport. This device provides real-time monitoring and automated analysis in a pocket-sized device without the need for an EEG technician or a large machine.

“The CCATT team was able to positively differentiate non-convulsive seizures from normal activity on the rr-EEG headset and make clinical decisions while in flight, something that has never been done before,” according to the abstract.

“Winning this award is a great honor and our team has worked exceptionally hard to overcome challenges to get where we are today,” said Air Force Capt. Joshua Luster, staff neurologist, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. “With this technology, we can improve care for non-convulsive seizures, a common secondary, or indirect, result of a traumatic brain injury. We hope to continue to innovate and improve care for our service members downrange.”

Patient Centeredness Award

-- Winning Abstract: “Advanced Nutrition Assessments,” by the 673rd Medical Group, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. Team: Air Force Maj. Lindsey Colgan, Air Force Capt. Chelseah Baker, Air Force Capt. Kati Wise, Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brittany Council, Air Force Tech. Sgt. William Council III, Air Force Senior Airman Jonathan McBrien and Air Force Senior Airman Roman Andersen.

This abstract focuses on the acute nutrition screening process conducted during hospital admission, and the need to ensure an efficient, effective nutrition screening process that benefits both patients and staff.

“Winning the RRC HRO award is an amazing honor and validates our efforts in optimizing healthcare delivery and patient safety and satisfaction,” said. Air Force Capt. Kati Wise, chief, clinical nutrition, 673rd Medical Support Squadron. “This award helps us drive positive changes in the military health care system, ultimately benefiting both patients and healthcare professionals.”

-- Winning Abstract: “Patient Experience” by the 377th Medical Group, Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico. Team: Barbara Kashinski, Jennifer Rice, Air Force Lt. Krysta Farina, Air Force Col. Nisa Pistone, Air Force Maj. Lindsey Cline, Air Force Master Sgt. Catrina Kious and Air Force Tech. Sgt. Nicholas Warner.

The group’s quality team focused on improving the partnership between patients and clinical care teams to ensure a patient-centered care enterprise and to increase patient and provider satisfaction. Their efforts resulted in a 16% increase in patient satisfaction on outpatient surveys.

“We worked to standardize and increase communication with our patients, strengthened our relationships with community medical facilities, and worked to build a stronger Patient and Family Partnership Council to unify these improvements,” said Jennifer Rice, 377th group patient advocate/patient experience officer. “Ultimately, we improved our patient experience, patient satisfaction, and helped providers better serve our active-duty military members and their families.”

Leadership Commitment Award

-- Winning Abstract: “Behavioral Health Data Platform Adoption and Utilization,” Brooke Army Medical Center, Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston. Team: Dr. Nicholas Katko, Richard Hollins, Tammy Williams, Air Force Col Vanessa Lyons, Army Lt. Col. Matthew Garrido and Air Force Capt. Daniel Kozora.

The BAMC team focused on improving the adoption and use of the Behavioral Health Data Portal, a tool that standardizes the assessment and monitoring of individual readiness requirements and clinical outcome measures to ensure fitness sustainability enterprise-wide, according to the abstract.

“It has been satisfying to play a small, yet key role in shaping the acceptance and implementation of Behavioral Health Data Platform across the San Antonio Market,” said Nicholas Katko, BAMC psychologist and market BHDP champion. “It has the potential to enhance clinical care among several other features. DHA established the directive of making the BHDP mainstream, and the team delivered.”

Along with the four winning teams, DHN Central Director Maj. Gen. Thomas Harrell expressed his admiration for all personnel who took the time to submit an abstract.

“These submissions represent a massive amount of time, passion, and dedication to improving the Military Health System,” the general said. “Congratulations to all who submitted. Thank you for your incredible efforts and collaboration to ensure Ready Reliable Care for all we are privileged to serve.”

The Winners’ Abstract booklet and the Abstract Booklet for All Submissions will be published on the Health.mil website: health.mil/Military-Health-Topics/Access-Cost-Quality-and-Safety/Quality-And-Safety-of-Healthcare/Patient-Safety/Quality-Patient-Safety-Awards.

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Last Updated: February 14, 2024
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