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Development of an electronic clinical decision support system, to assist with the identification and management of suicidality

What we are doing:

Development of a suicide-specific, electronic clinical decision support system (e-CDSS), could help general practitioners (GPs) to address some of the barriers to suicide assessment and management in primary care, by guiding GPs through the clinical risk assessment at the time of the consultation and supporting their clinical decision-making processes. We are developing and testing the acceptability of a suicide specific e-CDSS in primary care settings across the East and West Midlands.

Why we are doing it:

Primary care is often the first and last healthcare contact for people who go on to die by suicide, and 45% of those who die by suicide are likely to have had contact with a primary-care provider within four weeks of suicide. However, time constraints and a heavy workload coupled with lack of specialist training in working with suicide risk are reported by GP colleagues, as significant barriers to the assessment and management of suicidal presentations.

What the benefits will be:

A suicide-specific e-CDSS could provide a standardised method of recording suicide risk history and flagging ongoing social circumstances or risk factors and therefore help GPs to provide the most appropriate clinical care.  This tool could also potentially save GP colleagues additional work and time by generating a risk assessment and management plan that can be shared with their service user and carer(s) or with specialised mental health services.

Who we are working with:

The tool is being developed with a range of stakeholder partner organisations, including: PRIMIS, a leader in the field of medical informatics, which specialises in the development of electronic tools which interface with GP clinical systems. AHSN East Midlands and the East Midlands Patient Safety Collaborative, NIHR Mind Tech MTC, and clinical commissioning groups across the East and West Midlands.


Matthew Horrocks,


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