Vituity’s Emergency Psychiatry Team Recognized for Innovation in Suicide Prevention

Published April 08, 2021

EMERYVILLE, CA (April 8, 2021)—Emergency Psychiatric Intervention (EPI), a proprietary care protocol for psychiatric patients who present to the emergency department (ED), was recognized today with the 2021 Innovation in Acute Care Suicide Prevention Award from the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). This national award highlights promising programs that improve patient outcomes while also promoting provider well-being.

The number of patients presenting to the ED with suicidal ideation more than quadrupled between 2006 and 2014. Experts believe the pandemic and ongoing opioid crisis will exacerbate this trend. However, few emergency providers have in-depth training in crisis intervention and suicide prevention, and few EDs have access to psychiatric emergency services. As a result, most ED patients who disclose suicidal ideation are admitted for inpatient care—even when it’s neither necessary nor in their best interests.

To close this care gap, Vituity physicians on the front lines of emergency medicine and emergency psychiatry created EPI. This integrated solution empowers emergency clinicians to quickly evaluate and effectively treat patients with suicidal ideation and other behavioral health concerns. The EPI toolkit includes protocols for risk stratification, medical management, split-flow processing, and elimination of overprocessing. Teams also receive in-depth training to help them serve behavioral health patients with compassion and confidence.

The leadership team that developed EPI includes Gregg Miller, MD; Seth Thomas, MD; Scott Zeller, MD; Herb Harman, MD; Kimberly Lopez, MSN, RN; Tamara Longo, RN; and Devika Roy.

This team accepted the award today at a virtual ceremony. Honorees were chosen by a committee of industry and clinical experts representing both ACEP and AFSP. Award criteria included originality, scalability, sustainability, measured impact, and integration of the solution across disciplines.

“EPI is a standout example of what empowered front-line clinicians can achieve for their patients and hospitals by thinking differently,” said Vituity CEO Imamu Tomlinson, MD, MBA. “The prevailing paradigm was that EDs were not the right place to care for patients experiencing behavioral health crises, leaving them waiting for hours for an effective intervention. Instead, our team asked: How can we best serve patients who are experiencing a crisis and have come to us for help? This lens led to a more caring and effective approach to an intractable problem in our health delivery system.”

A 2018 EPI pilot at Amita Health (Illinois) reduced average wait times for lower-acuity patients by 40% at four of the system’s EDs. Patients, providers, and nurses all reported a high degree of satisfaction with the program. EPI has since been successfully adopted by hospitals across the country and has been featured in the Chicago Tribune and Modern Healthcare.

Learn more about EPI from the team who created it. Watch now.

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