Predictive Analytics Pointing VA to Veterans at Risk of Suicide
May 04, 2018
Preliminary data suggest that a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) suicide prevention program may be having some success. The REACH Vet program uses a computer algorithm to identify risk factors for suicide in veterans’ electronic health records. Since its launch about a year ago, the program has reached more than 30,000 veterans and identified about 6,700 active VA users a month. Veterans who engaged with REACH Vet were less likely to be admitted to an inpatient mental health unit, and more likely to attend mental health and primary care appointments compared to those not in the program. REACH Vet infrastructure includes a coordinator at every VA facility and a national team of clinicians who provide overall program support. According to VA Deputy Director for Innovation Aaron Eagan, veterans who are contacted by the program are receptive. “It’s a great reminder that people really feel good about us caring about them, and that’s what the response generally is,” he said.
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