What You Should Know:
– The Veterans Health Administration has selected Ontrak in collaboration with Harvard Medical School and Brown University to transform suicide prevention care for veterans.
– Leveraging AI developed by a Harvard Medical School professor and the core analytics of the Ontrak platform, the three-year study will look at the effect of intensive care coaching in addition to the standard of care for veterans at high risk of suicide after inpatient hospitalization at a psychiatric hospital. The trial will include 850 patients at six VA hospitals.
– Suicide prevention is a focus for the military as well as for the population as a whole as the U.S. grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ontrak, Inc., an AI-powered and telehealth-enabled, virtualized healthcare company, announced a cooperative research and development agreement with the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to conduct a 3-year research study on the effect of intensive care coaching in addition to the standard of care for Veterans at high risk of suicide-related behaviors after psychiatric hospital.
Research Study Details
The study will leverage AI developed by Dr. Ronald Kessler of the Harvard Medical School, as well as the core analytics of the Ontrak platform. Dr. Kessler is the McNeil Family Professor of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School and a principal in the STARRS Longitudinal Study of suicide prevention among US Army soldiers. “We are excited to have Ontrak helping us evaluate the effects of an intensive intervention to prevent suicidal behaviors among Veterans at very high risk,” stated Dr. Kessler.
Why It Matters
Suicidal ideation has been elevated since the pandemic and the CDC reported on August 14 that a survey of U.S. adults in June 2020 indicated that 11% had seriously considered suicide in the past 30 days, which was twice as high as in the previous 12 month period.
Addressing Veteran suicide is a top VHA priority and Ontrak is proud to apply their AI and virtual care coaching model in a trial of 850 patients at 6 VHA hospitals selected from a total of 98 in the country. This study has the potential to not only reduce suicide risk but also to produce secondary reductions in risk through interventions that address co-occurring medical conditions.
Dr. Judy Feld, Medical Director of Ontrak, stated, “Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. with rates steadily increasing over the past decade and worsening during the Covid-19 pandemic. We know that individuals with behavioral health conditions such as depression, substance use disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder are at higher risk for suicidal ideation or attempt. Importantly, the rate of suicide among our country’s military Vets is double that of non-Veterans. As a pioneer in the development of evidence-based interventions for engaging individuals in care for anxiety, depression, and substance use disorders, Ontrak is honored to partner with the VHA healthcare system and collaborators from Harvard Medical School and Brown University to advance the medical community’s understanding of the most impactful case management for Veterans at high risk of suicide after inpatient hospitalization.”