Cognosante helps government healthcare agencies close the gap between knowledge and clinical practice by synthesizing the latest in medical research, disseminating it to the healthcare community, and integrating it into patient care.
In honor of Military Appreciation Month, Faye Curran, PhD, Program Manager of Cognosante’s Knowledge Translation portfolio, discusses how her team is using knowledge translation to improve healthcare within the Military Health System.
Dr. Curran, you lead our efforts to translate research into practice across the Military Health System. Tell us about the work Cognosante is doing in this area.
Knowledge Translation, also known as implementation science, is just that—taking research and putting it into practice.
The Military Health System is committed to providing standardized and optimal care to service members and their families by publishing policies and clinical practice guidelines that outline treatment best practices. Our team is charged with promoting awareness of these guidelines and helping providers access and adopt them. In doing so, we’re really ensuring that service members receive the best care based on the guidelines that have a strong evidence base.
For example, we helped implement a standardized postpartum hemorrhage response and treatment program in Military Treatment Facilities so that new mothers experience fewer complications during obstetric care. Combat medics and trauma care providers can treat patients more effectively in austere deployed settings because they have easy access to the clinical practice guidelines relevant to their unique circumstances. Finally, we’re piloting a direct access to physical therapy program, which should enable service members to recover faster from an injury.
These examples show that our work can have a big impact on both service members and their families. The providers we work with really want to provide the best care to their patients and we just need to get the latest clinical information into their hands and enable them to be able to do that. Our ultimate goal is to remove barriers and optimize care.
Can you elaborate on how our work directly supports service members and their military spouses who receive healthcare through the Military Health System?
Although we often work with providers, we have taken on some projects that allow us to directly engage with patients. For example, the educational materials that we developed for the opioid overdose education and naloxone distribution program teach patients about opioids, the signs and symptoms of an overdose, and how to request naloxone from a pharmacy.
For the postpartum hemorrhage program, patient discharge plans now include education materials that inform them on the signs and symptoms of postpartum hemorrhage.
We believe that patients are their own best advocates. If we can create materials to keep them informed, patients are empowered to be active participants in their own care.
How do your own experiences as a consumer of those services influence the way you approach your work?
I am also a military spouse, so I can offer the end user perspective in our work. For example, my first child was born in a Military Treatment Facility in Japan. When we were stationed in Yokosuka, I had to be evacuated because of an earthquake while I was 40 weeks pregnant. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get on a plane, so they medevacked me and a dozen other expectant mothers to Okinawa in what became known as “Operation Motherload.” My son was born the next day, so I know firsthand what it’s like to depend on the Military Health System in extraordinary circumstances!
What is important to you personally about Military Appreciation Month? What does it mean to you?
While service members and their families are proud to serve, the demands are stressful. Service members put their lives on the line. Military Appreciation Month gives us an opportunity to reflect on who we serve and the sacrifices they make. They and their families experience frequent transitions, cross-country moves, and deployments. I believe it’s important to honor them, bring awareness to their challenges, and thank them for their service.