Development of a Suicidal Ideation Detection Tool for Primary Healthcare Settings: Using Open Access Online Psychosocial Data

Denny Meyer, Jo Anne Abbott, Imogen Rehm, Sunil Bhar, Azy Barak, Gary Deng, Klaire Wallace, Edward Ogden, Britt Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Suicidal patients often visit healthcare professionals in their last month before suicide, but medical practitioners are unlikely to raise the issue of suicide with patients because of time constraints and uncertainty regarding an appropriate approach. Introduction: A brief tool called the e-PASS Suicidal Ideation Detector (eSID) was developed for medical practitioners to help detect the presence of suicidal ideation (SI) in their clients. If SI is detected, the system alerts medical practitioners to address this issue with a client. The eSID tool was developed due to the absence of an easy-to-use, evidence-based SI detection tool for general practice. Material and Methods: The tool was developed using binary logistic regression analyses of data provided by clients accessing an online psychological assessment function. Ten primary healthcare professionals provided advice regarding the use of the tool. Results: The analysis identified eleven factors in addition to the Kessler-6 for inclusion in the model used to predict the probability of recent SI. The model performed well across gender and age groups 18-64 (AUR 0.834, 95% CI 0.828-0.841, N = 16,703). Healthcare professionals were interviewed; they recommended that the tool be incorporated into existing medical software systems and that additional resources be supplied, tailored to the level of risk identified. Conclusion: The eSID is expected to trigger risk assessments by healthcare professionals when this is necessary. Initial reactions of healthcare professionals to the tool were favorable, but further testing and in situ development are required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-281
Number of pages9
JournalTelemedicine Journal and e-Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.


  • Healthcare professionals
  • suicidal ideation
  • suicide conversation
  • web-based questionnaire

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Information Management
  • Health Informatics


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