User feedback on the use of a natural language processing application to screen for suicide risk in the emergency department
Pease, J.L., Thompson, D., Wright-Berryman, J., & Campbell, M.
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the USA and globally. Despite decades of research, the ability to predict who will die by suicide is still no better than 50%. Traditional screening instruments have helped identify risk factors for suicide, but they have not provided accurate predictive power for reducing death rates. Over the past decade, natural language processing (NLP), a form of machine learning (ML), has been used to identify suicide risk by analyzing language data. Recent work has demonstrated the successful integration of a suicide risk screening interview to collect language data for NLP analysis from patients in two emergency departments (ED) of a large healthcare system. Results indicated that ML/NLP models performed well identifying patients that came to the ED for suicide risk. However, little is known about the clinician’s perspective of how a qualitative brief interview suicide risk screening tool to collect language data for NLP integrates into an ED workflow. This report highlights the feedback and observations of patient experiences obtained from clinicians using brief suicide screening interviews. The investigator used an open-ended, narrative interview approach to inquire about the qualitative interview process. Three overarching themes were identified: behavioral health workflow, clinical implications of interview probes, and integration of an application into provider patient experience. Results suggest a brief, qualitative interview method was feasible, person-centered, and useful as a suicide risk detection approach.