Teleconsulting Program in Child Abuse Medical Assessment

Period of Performance: 09/15/2006 - 03/14/2007

$126K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Visual Sharepoint
Salt Lake City, UT 84111
Principal Investigator

Abstract

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Child abuse is a common and unfortunate problem in the United States. Approximately 1 million children are physically or sexually abused each year. The actual number of children presenting to medical facilities for abuse examinations is unknown, however, the number is anecdotally is increasing (See figure 5, pp 25). Specialized clinics in hospitals, Children's Advocacy Centers (CACs) and Childrens' Justice Centers (CJCs) have been developed in every region to serve the investigative and medical needs of abused children. CACs and CJCs provide the same service, and both are members of the National Children's Alliance. Each clinic, or Center, must perform medical assessments to diagnose and treat the physical aftereffects of abuse, and also document forensic evidence necessary for child protection and possible prosecution. As the only children's hospital with a tertiary care trauma center in the Intermountain West, Utah's Primary Children's Medical Center (PCMC), within the Intermountain Health Care (IHC) system, annually receives and reviews about 1000 child abuse cases submitted from geographically remote locations. A significant amount of expertise has developed in the field of child abuse medicine within the field of Pediatrics. The American Board of Pediatrics is currently considering a proposal for Child Abuse Pediatrics to become the newest medical subspecialty of Pediatrics, recognizing the need for highly skilled physicians in this area. Recent studies have shown that in certain areas of child abuse, especially in the evaluation of sexual abuse, less experienced physicians and other medical providers may not provide accurate assessments of physical findings [1, 2]. While failing to recognize abuse has significant morbidity and mortality, over recognition and over interpretation has negative child welfare and criminal repercussions that may be equally devastating. The existing process of child abuse detection and prevention can be improved by providing clinicians and practitioners with secure case communication and collaboration tools. These tools must fulfill the need to create and submit child abuse cases for expert consultation, integrate clinical coding standards (e.g., ICD-9, CPT), manipulate images form multiple sources (e.g., clinical photos, radiographs, histology), preserve archive quality images with nondestructive visual identifiers and protect all information from unauthorized access. 1. Clinical case consultation and collaboration (same-time/different-place, different-time/different-place) for geographically remote users; 2. Customized child abuse prevention workflow designed by Pediatric experts; 3. Secure methods for storing, processing and sharing, accumulated knowledge; 4. Built-in mechanisms for privatizing, accessing and auditing case information.