To evaluate a computer-automated version of the Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS) using interactive voice response technology (eC-SSRS™). The eC-SSRS assesses "Lifetime" ideations and behaviors at baseline and monitors suicidality prospectively thereafter. Ten control volunteers and ten psychiatric inpatients participated and were administered the C-SSRS at baseline and 4-8 days later by two experienced clinical trial raters. Study participants also completed the eC-SSRS using touch-tone telephones. Kappa measures of agreement compared inter-rater reliability of the C-SSRS administrations and the C-SSRS administrations with the eC-SSRS. Convergent validity with the Beck Scale for Suicide Ideation BSS and patient feedback forms were also evaluated. Twenty baseline and nineteen follow-up assessments were completed. In general, agreement between the eC-SSRS and each rater was comparable or superior to the agreement between both raters. Subject feedback and personal preferences varied across individuals, but were generally supportive of the feasibility and validity of the eC-SSRS. The reliability and validity of the C-SSRS and eC-SSRS for assessing suicidal ideation and behaviors were comparable in this first study comparing the methods. These data were obtained from relatively small patient samples recruited from a single investigational site over a relatively short follow-up period. They support the feasibility and validity of the eC-SSRS for prospective monitoring of suicidality for use in clinical trials or clinical care, but further research with larger samples, other patient populations, and longer follow-up periods is needed.
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