An $18 million blunder in TBI diagnosis?

Now the Air Force, after evaluation at Robins AFB in Georgia, and the Army at West Point, both in fall 2011, determined the TBI/BH software doesn’t assess as specified, and moreover does not pull in data from other currently used assessment tools. The Defense Health Information Management System (DHIMS), which is the HIT arm of the MHS and the program manager, the Pentagon and Vangent have done the requisite backing-and-filling, now claiming it was meant only to be a documentation tool and not diagnosis. NextGov lists the messy details (and there are plenty) in Pentagon’s $18 million tool for assessing traumatic brain injury fails to deliver

The Government Accountability Office (in the US, the GAO is the investigative arm of the US Congress in investigating the spending of public funds) has criticized DOD efforts in coordinating programs to support TBI treatment and psychological health–questioning $2.7 billion allocated in FY 2007-10. The report advocates a single organization coordinate management. Stars and Stripes

The plain and regrettable facts are that 244,719 servicemembers have been diagnosed with TBI from 2000 through the first quarter of fiscal 2012, up 72,579 from 2009. The NextGov article also quotes Dr. Chrisanne Gordon, chairwoman of Resurrecting Lives, a TBI advocacy group based in Ohio, as stating that the $18 million spent on the TBI/BH tool could have paid for a year of cognitive training and rehabilitation for more than 700 troops.

It’s no better with PTSD. According to FierceMobileHealthcare reporting based on New York Times and NextGov articles, PTSD may certainly be better understood, but treatment varies widely, even from base to base, tracking of efficacy is unknown, and there is the unfortunately as usual coordination problem between DOD (MHS) and the VA, which exacerbates this long-term health problem.