Implementing the Post-Deployment Health Practice Guideline

Lessons from the Field Demonstration

by Donna O. Farley, Georges Vernez, Suzanne Pieklik, Sherilyn Curry


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The Department of Defense — specifically the Office of the Secretary of Defense/Office of Health Affairs (OSD/HA) — is implementing a clinical guideline for identification of patients with post-deployment health (PDH) concerns (related to military deployments) and management of their care. Before undertaking full implementation across the military health system, OSD/HA conducted a field demonstration with military treatment facilities at three sites to evaluate on a small scale the procedures and tools established for the PDH practice guideline. RAND provided technical support for the demonstration and also performed an evaluation of the sites’ experiences with the guideline, related OSD/HA policy, and the tool kit of support materials. This briefing presents evaluation findings from the demonstration, which document successes and challenges, how problems were addressed, and what systemic issues required attention. The authors conclude by delineating four policy issues to be resolved for successful implementation and three methods of organization for providing effective corporate support.

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