About 22 Veterans take their own life every day. While studies show decreases in suicide rates for Veterans who seek care within VA’s health system, reaching at-risk Veterans and persuading these individuals to seek care remains a challenge. Less than 23% of Veterans who committed suicide are patients in the health system. Identifying individuals outside of the health system and overcoming stigma associated with mental health issues presents a major obstacle for outreach programs.
Our client is seeking to develop a system that incorporates a deep and substantive understanding of the epidemiology of suicide and associated risk factors with rigorous methodologies for intervention. They would like to expand suicide prevention to include upstream approaches designed to reduce initiation or escalation of a risk factor. The client requires a solution that promotes the general health of the at-risk Veteran population and effectively intervenes in issues before they escalate in crisis.
In an effort to promote innovative thinking, minimal software licensing costs, collaboration, and rapid development the client requires the system to be developed as an open source software solution using Agile methodologies. Agile is an iterative software development approach that delivers software incrementally from the start of the project, leverages continuous client interactions, and adapts to changing requirements. Open source software is modern licensing model providing grantees the rights to study, change and distribute the software. Open source software is often developed in a public, collaborative manner.
The Perceptive Reach solution is an integrated data analytic and predictive modeling database solution that provides our client a system that utilizes predictive analysis for an early intervention and treatment solution to prevent Veteran suicide.
The system has four major components:
Our design approach integrates both Agile and Human-Centered Design methodologies. Our Agile methodology provides both accountability and transparency in our efforts, while also reducing project risk, including risk introduced through unexpected challenges and changes in requirements. This methodology is comprised of iterative development cycles (Sprints) for planning, development, verification, and analysis. The Agile approach enables iterative progressions of work with the means to frequently assess and measure results, and adjust tasks to maintain alignment with client priorities. Using Human-Centered Design methods we conduct qualitative user research and synthesize findings to define the needs of the stakeholders. These interviews with product end users and subject matter experts follow a structured Human-Centered Design methodology. The sample of end users interviewed is representative of the full range of anticipated use cases.
The client and the open source community provide a powerful collaborative input to this effort.
Below are several of the open source tools that our team freely utilizes for development, testing, planning, collaboration and project tracking:
The primary benefits of the Perceptive Reach innovation include: