Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Screening Instruments

US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) logo

US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)




Brain Injury

Study type


Funder types

Other U.S. Federal agency


SDR 08-411

Details and patient eligibility


Goal: The ultimate goal of this research program is to improve the health and quality of life for wounded warriors from Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) through screening, risk assessment, and outcome measurement. Purpose: The purpose of this study is to evaluate the reliability and validity of the existing Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Clinical Reminder Screen for OEF/OIF Veterans.

Full description

Objectives: To meet a VA-wide need for early diagnosis of mild traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in returning soldiers, in April 2007 VA established policy and procedures for screening and evaluation of possible TBI in OEF and OIF veterans. Although the screening process has been in effect for over a year, the validity, reliability, false positive rates, and false negative rates of the TBI Clinical Reminder are unknown. The purpose of this research is to develop a gold standard and then assess the validity/reliability of the TBI Clinical Reminder screen. Specific short-term objectives for this study include: Operationalize a gold standard for TBI identification, using a national panel of experts. Identify patient characteristics and levels of Polytrauma care that predict a delay in or failure to complete the TBI Clinical Reminder screen Using the gold standard, evaluate the validity (sensitivity and specificity) and reliability of the current TBI Clinical Reminder Screen. Identify approaches to improve the TBI Clinical Reminder screening protocol, including screening instrument and process. Research Design: Methodologies for this study include both prospective and retrospective approaches. Experts will convene in Tampa to operationalize a gold standard for TBI identification (Objective 1). Retrospective, population-based cohort analyses of extant databases will provide insight into current practices and findings to address Objective 2. The gold standard developed in Objective1 will be implemented with a small time-limited prospective cohort so that psychometric analysis of the TBI screen can be conducted (Objective 3). Findings from these analyses will help identify potential improvement in the TBI Screening process to address Objective 4. Collaboration: This study is responsive to the RFP (#410127, TBI Screen, 8/7/2008). The Tampa HSR&D REAP is partnering with investigators at the Boston VAMC; Tampa investigators are taking the lead on the psychometric evaluation of the TBI screen, while Boston investigators will use the same cohort to evaluate the Second Level TBI Evaluation. Researchers from both sites are co-investigators on each of the proposals to enhance collaboration and linkage of findings. Anticipated Impact: Traumatic brain injury (TBI), and particularly mild TBI, is said to be the "signature injury" of the current conflicts. These injuries are currently a focus of post-deployment assessment and treatment within the VA and are likely to continue to be the focus of treatment for many years to come. To ensure that OEF/OIF veterans with TBI are identified and treated, the VA TBI Clinical Reminder was instituted in the form of a four-item screening tool for use in VA. While the VA-TBI screening reminder rolled out on April 2, 2007, the utility and psychometric properties of this screening are unknown. The proposed project will address these gaps by operationalizing a gold standard for TBI identification and then using that gold standard to evaluate the reliability and validity of the current TBI screen. By completing this project, we propose to identify specific improvements to the TBI protocol instrument and screening process.


97 patients




18+ years old


Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Inclusion criteria

  • Served in OEF/OIF

Exclusion criteria

  • None

Trial design

97 participants in 1 patient group

Group 1
A convenience sample of 97VHA patients who served during the OEF or OIF era, who are targeted in CPRS as requiring the TBI Clinical reminder will be included. This includes all ages, both sexes, and all races and ethnicities.

Trial contacts and locations



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