The Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) recently added traumatic brain injury (TBI) network sites at Fort Gordon, Georgia; Fort Drum, New York; and at the South Texas Veterans Health Care System in San Antonio. These sites help DVBIC spread the word among the military community about the latest in TBI research and treatment according to DVBIC Deputy Director Katherine Helmick.
“If we want to impact and improve health care for our service members, we need to be where they are,” Helmick said. “This puts us at all five of the VA’s Polytrauma Rehabilitation Centers and at high volume military treatment facilities.”
Greater Access to New Research
DVBIC will bring its knowledge of up-to-the-minute findings on the causes, symptoms and treatment of TBI, so that providers won’t have to hunt down new information on their own. Each location also provides added benefits to DVBIC, which in turn will enable DVBIC to help patients more effectively. For example, the new site at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Audie L. Murphy Medical Center in San Antonio, offers DVBIC staff access to VA polytrauma system of care services. These services include rehabilitation centers, support clinic teams, points of contact and transitional rehabilitation programs. DVBIC will be able to learn from patients in San Antonio about what treatments are most effective.
The Fort Drum site in the Guthrie Ambulatory Healthcare Clinic in Watertown, New York, makes it easier for TBI providers in the northeast to learn about new treatments. Before this site opened, these service members traveled all over New England to meet with providers from DVBIC and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
Improved Treatment Process
Reducing patient wait times is an important goal for DVBIC. The Dwight D. Eisenhower Medical Center at Fort Gordon operates a TBI outpatient program for a significant number of patients with persistent brain injury concerns. DVBIC will now be on hand to figure out how this population and others like it can receive more efficiently targeted care.
“By looking at referral patterns and researching the range of treatment options throughout the military health care system, we are working with our service TBI partners to find solutions to match patients with the care they need,” Helmick said.
Providers appreciate the benefits of the growing DVBIC network. According to John Rigg, site director for TBI at Fort Gordon, the new DVBIC staff will help support and prepare providers who care for TBI patients.
“We’ve been kind of isolated,” said Rigg. “By working together with DVBIC as a network site, we can participate in ongoing research, better collaborate with other experts in the field, and tap into some of the great work being done.”