- June 19, 2013
- Jennifer Salerno
RAAPS was developed to overcome some of the most common barriers to adolescent risk screening in primary care: time, provider confidence in addressing multiple risk topics, lack of risk-reduction counseling tools — and teen engagement. As a nurse practitioner working with teens, I understood the need to screen for risky behaviors, but struggled to connect with teens in a traditional interview style — and had trouble incorporating long risk surveys in the appointment time available.
A great team of experts at the University of Michigan created RAAPS with these issues in mind – and we had strong teen involvement every step of the way. Our collaboration with teens helped to make the RAAPS more engaging, and helps teens feel more comfortable answering sensitive questions. It also led to some innovative features that increase both engagement and effectiveness in the teen population:
- – RAAPS can be completed on any device with internet access — like an iPad, or droid tablet (some sites are even using Kindle Fires now!)
- – Audio and multi-lingual options are incorporated to help improve health literacy, which is especially important among underserved populations
We also added innovative features for professionals who use RAAPS to identify risks and provide behavior change counseling:
- – Some professionals reported they were less confident with certain risk topics (mental health, for example) — so evidence-based talking points were developed to help in their discussions with teens
- – And with the secure system, professionals can electronically document the counseling they provide and receive reports on their patient population by age, risk factor, demographics, and over time
- – In addition, results can be compared to a “benchmark” population of adolescents who have completed the online survey
This access to risk data is the feature I love the most as a researcher! Teen risks change over time — and having accessible data that reveals changing trends is critical. For example a review of RAAPS 2012 data showed a significant increase in mental health risks among teens — even surpassing the usual issues of teen drinking, drugs, and unprotected sex.
This article was featured in the May Newsletter of the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine. RAAPS was chosen as the recipient of the 2013 Millar Award for Innovative Approaches to Adolescent Health Care. Click here to read the article in its entirety.