Can an Algorithm Prevent Suicide?

Veterans Affairs' Reach Vet program uses an algorithm weighing 61 factors to flag veterans deemed at highest risk of suicide. While its results have not been shown to affect the suicide rate, it has more than doubled high-risk veterans' uses of V.A. services and been associated with a lower overall mortality rate. Built on an analysis of thousands of previous suicides in the V.A.'s system, Reach Vet assesses scores of facts from medical records, including some that are not obvious to humans trying to spot problems. Doctors then intervene and ensure the veteran has a suicide safety plan in place.

Related Stories