In 2015, Parkland Health & Hospital System in Dallas, Texas implemented a universal assessment program in Epic that has helped clinicians identify and treat suicide risk in thousands of patients. In the first year, Parkland found that approximately 6% of completed screenings revealed elevated suicide risk. Thanks to the screening tool, clinicians were able to give these patients counseling and support resources they might not have otherwise received.
When patients come into the ED, clinicians complete a flowsheet-based assessment in Epic that uses an electronic algorithm to generate a suicide risk estimation. If patients are deemed to be at high risk, clinicians put precautions in place, and behavioral health clinicians perform an evaluation. The flowsheet assessment is required before a patient can leave the ED so that clinicians can identify at-risk patients before discharge.
According to Kimberly Roaten, Ph.D., Parkland’s director of quality for safety, education, and implementation for the psychiatry department, research shows that about 40% of people who die by suicide saw an ED provider in the year before their death.
“We want to use every patient encounter at Parkland as an opportunity to identify those at risk,” Roaten said.