Triage works the same in most settings. The only thing that changes are next steps, which are setting specific. The most worrisome answers are a recent (past month) “yes” to items 4 or 5 for suicidal ideation and/or any recent (3 months) behavior.

These screeners for primary careemergency departments, law enforcement, corrections and schools have triage next steps right on the forms and color-coded levels of risk for easy identification. The only difference in these various screeners are the intervention examples that are specific to the setting, however, Interventions should be changed to reflect your individual resources and policies.

Our triage guide shows how some different types of programs are using these worrisome answers to guide clinical decision making (e.g.. does the patient require 1:1 observation or a psychiatrist to consult). As you look to delineate high, moderate and low risk levels, you might use the cut-offs described as your anchors.

This document incorporates the Columbia Protocol questions into the SAMHSA SAFE-T model with recommended triage categories.

The ideal triage model embeds the Columbia Protocol into the Electronic Health Record (EHR) and provides alerts for high risk answers. This example from NYOMH shows how this can work. For health/behavioral health care providers, there is no cost or license required to put the Columbia Protocol tools into your EHR/EMR. We often review screenshots for accuracy during this process and would be happy to look at yours if you desire. Feel free to contact us with any questions that arise during the build.