Priya Raghavan, MSE, Lead Data Scientist, and Edison Machado, MD, Sr. Vice President, Strategy Solutions, were among the co-authors of an article titled, “Development and Testing of an Emergency Department Quality Measure for Pediatric Suicidal Ideation and Self-Harm,” published in the journal Academic Pediatrics in April.
This study developed and tested a new measure examining the rate at which children and adolescents (ages 5-17), presenting with suicidal ideation or self-harm to an emergency department, had received follow-up mental health care within seven days. Priya’s role was to review and test the SAS program provided by RAND Corporation and provide insights and suggestions from a SAS programming perspective. After the SAS program was finalized by RAND, she ran the program with the Pennsylvania Physical Health and Behavioral Health data that IPRO receives on a weekly basis and provided the results.
Looking at a cohort of 16,486 children between the ages of five and 17 who visited emergency departments in four states over a two-year period, the study found that 53 percent had a mental health follow-up visit within seven days.
“This was my first experience working on a measure involving this vulnerable population. I was surprised at the findings: we observed a relatively low rate of follow-up mental health care, and when timely follow-up did occur, we did not observe an association with reduced hospital reutilization,” Priya noted. “The study’s results highlight the need for further research in identifying the barriers limiting access to care for this population. Hopefully, the measure will be used to track and increase the quality of mental health services for youth.”
This work was part of a larger effort to develop and evaluate the validity of pediatric quality measures related to mental health care. Suicidal ideation and self-harm are prevalent among children and adolescents, leading to federal policies that emphasize quality improvement and optimizing care for pediatric mental health.