Tablet system helps psychiatrists assess near-term suicide risk


A tablet-based tool is nearly as good as a psychiatrist in assessing near-term suicide risk, according to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

The mHealth approach is also proving to be much quicker, and patients describe it as easy to use, according to a University of Vermont article.

“We’ve demonstrated for the first time that a simple, quick model can accurately predict a psychiatrist’s assessment of near-term risk for suicide,” said lead study author Isabelle Desjardins, M.D., an associate professor of psychiatry and medical director of inpatient psychiatry at the University of Vermont.

“To have a tool to standardize risk assessment efficiently is the first step toward meeting the Joint Commission mandate. Perhaps most importantly, this tool can be most helpful in identifying individuals at risk by augmenting clinical decision support in settings where with scarce psychiatry resources,” Desjardins added.

Mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones, are increasingly being tapped for new healthcare treatment approaches and clinical evaluations. As FierceMobileHealthcare reported in late 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a mobile spirometer, boasting Bluetooth sensors and working off a smartphone or tablet.

The tablet-based suicide risk evaluation approach featured key questions and compared the mobile format to a psychiatrist interview model.

“An expert-based neural network model predicted psychiatrists’ assessments of risk of suicide in the hospital within 72 hours. It replicated psychiatrist-recommended interventions to mitigate risk in EDs and medical/surgical units,” the study states.

For more information:
- read the University of Vermont article