Depression Care Curbs Rate of Suicides at Henry Ford

A quality improvement initiative for the Health Alliance Plan members who receive care at Henry Ford Medical Group resulted in dramatically bringing down the rate of suicide in its 200,000 patient population. Over 9 consecutive quarters, there were no suicides among the patients of the Perfect Depression Care Program of the Behavioral Health Services division of Henry Ford, in stark contrast to the 230 suicides expected in an average population of 100,000. The goal of the initiative was to completely redesign care delivery around the six aims outlined in the Institute of Medicine’s Crossing the Quality Chasm report–safety, effectiveness, patient-centeredness, timeliness, efficiency, and equity—in order to reduce the number of suicides to zero. The belief held by the program is that perfect depression care would result in no suicides—not just a reduced risk of suicide.

Excerpted from:
Depression Care Effort Brings Dramatic Drop in Large HMO Population’s Suicide Rate
Tracy Hampton, PhD
JAMA. 2010;303(19):1903-1905.

“While physicians and other health care workers may not be ableto predict which of their patients will attempt suicide, theycan implement preventive strategies that markedly lower therisk of such tragedies. Now, one pioneering program has demonstratedthe importance of pursuing 2 key approaches at once: carefullyassessing patients for risk of suicide and adopting measuresto reduce the likelihood that a patient will attempt suicide.

The example comes from a quality-improvement initiative that succeeded in substantially bringing down the rate of suicide in a population of about 200 000 members of a large health maintenance organization (HMO). Through the second quarter of last year, the Perfect Depression Care program of the Behavioral Health Services (BHS) division of the Henry Ford Health System resulted in 9 consecutive quarters without any suicides, a dramatic contrast to the annual rate of 89 suicides per 100,000 members at baseline and approximately 230 suicides per 100,000 individuals expected in a patient population . . .”

Keywords: care team; depression; Henry Ford Health System; Michigan; Perfect Depression Care Program; prevention; quality improvement; rate of suicide;


Dwight Angell
Director of Public Affairs
Henry Ford Health System
One Ford Place
Detroit, Michigan

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