Project Name: ED Use for Mental Health and Self-Harm

Project Purpose (in one sentence, what high level question was this analysis trying to answer?): Who is using the ED for mental health and self-harm related reasons and how often are these patients admitted to the hospital?

What were your first steps when beginning this analysis?

To begin this project, I carefully reviewed the first iteration of this analysis that CIVHC completed in 2019. In doing so, I gained a clearer picture of mental health-related ED usage, specifically groups (by age and sex) with high utilization.

Were there specific considerations you needed to consider based on the data?

Yes, I had to consider that I’d be unable to differentiate between allowed amounts for those patients that were just seen in the ED for something mental health or self-harm related versus those that were seen and admitted.

What challenges did you encounter while performing the analysis? How did you overcome them?

The first iteration of the report did not include intentional self-harm diagnosis codes, so I knew that I’d have to find some reporting and analyses “in the wild” to help me understand what results made sense.

I educated myself on intentional self-harm diagnosis codes as much as I could, including the description for each, commonly used codes, and how frequently they’re utilized when it comes to ED visits. The additional context certainly helped me to see the larger analytical picture.

Without delving into results, did anything surprise you about this analysis or the process of executing it?

Yes! That even though the number of mental health-related ED visits continued to increase year after year (with the exception of 2020), the number of hospital admissions as a result of the ED visit consistently decreased. 

What did you learn while performing this analysis?

As this was my first big project with CIVHC, I learned quite a lot. Not only did I learn about mental health and self-harm related ED data, but I also gained more knowledge about the public reporting process and CO APCD. It was a great project to begin my analytical journey with!