A new study will aim to leverage CTHealthLink, a physician-led health information exchange (HIE) in Connecticut, to help identify the factors leading to suicide and to ultimately help prevent those deaths.
According to a report in the Shoreline Times, the data will be gleaned from patients’ visits to their doctors, psychotherapists and hospital emergency departments. Using that compiled information, the study, led by Robert H. Aseltine Jr., will help providers “better identify and treat patients at risk of suicide in the healthcare system. It bridges mental health, general health, hospital-based care,” he said. Aseltine, chairman of the Division of Behavioral Sciences and Community Health at UConn Health, is the principal investigator for the study, which is supported by a $1.9 million, three-year grant from the National Institute of Mental Health.
CTHealthLink, created by the Connecticut State Medical Society (CSMS), launched in 2017 and offers clinicians access to patient data, as well as patient portals, data analytics tools, and population health solutions.
Matthew Katz, CEO of CSMS, said “While the centralized information will help healthcare providers get a clearer picture of their patients’ health overall, it’s “a huge benefit because that robust data tells us a lot more about those who attempt suicide,” per the report.
CTHealthLink could specifically be helpful in identifying teenagers who show signs of depression or other symptoms that are associated with suicide attempts. Said Katz, “The things that we can look for are whether they have conditions that may lead towards a propensity for suicide—depression that was not identified on a claim form, poor conditions, unemployment, [living] in an at-risk location, [being] homeless,” as well as drug use and whether the patient has seen a doctor recently, he said. “It helps track that information in a way that we’ve never seen before.”