Year: 2023 Source: Lowell, MA: University of Massachusetts Lowell. (2022). 23 p. SIEC No: 20230336
Importance: Social determinants of health (SDOH) are known to be associated with increased risk of suicidal behaviors, but few studies utilized SDOH from unstructured electronic health record (EHR) notes. Objective: To investigate associations between suicide and recent SDOH, identified using structured and unstructured data. Design: Nested case-control study. Setting: EHR data from the US Veterans Health Administration (VHA). Participants: 6,122,785 Veterans who received care in the US VHA between October 1, 2010, and September 30, 2015. Exposures: Occurrence of SDOH over a maximum span of two years compared with no occurrence of SDOH. Main Outcomes and Measures: Cases of suicide deaths were matched with 4 controls on birth year, cohort entry date, sex, and duration of follow-up. We developed an NLP system to extract SDOH from unstructured notes. Structured data, NLP on unstructured data, and combining them yielded six, eight and nine SDOH respectively. Adjusted odds ratios (aORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using conditional logistic regression. Results: In our cohort, 8,821 Veterans committed suicide during 23,725,382 person-years of follow-up (incidence rate 37.18 /100,000 person-years). Our cohort was mostly male (92.23%) and white (76.99%). Across the five common SDOH as covariates, NLP-extracted SDOH, on average, covered 80.03% of all SDOH occurrences. All SDOH, measured by structured data and NLP, were significantly associated with increased risk of suicide. The SDOH with the largest effects was legal problems (aOR=2.66, 95% CI=2.46-2.89), followed by violence (aOR=2.12, 95% CI=1.98-2.27). NLP-extracted and structured SDOH were also associated with suicide. Conclusions and Relevance: NLP-extracted SDOH were always significantly associated with increased risk of suicide among Veterans, suggesting the potential of NLP in public health studies.