New Software Helping Center Diagnose Child Abuse
By: Tyler Riggs, Logan News, May 16, 2006
Accurately diagnosing child abuse cases is important, and a new software program which debuted at the Logan Children’s Justice Center on Monday should go a long way to help that cause.
A software program called TeleCAM Teleconsulting and Child Abuse Medicine was recently developed by a company called Visualshare, and will soon be deployed to 15 Children’s Justice Centers statewide. It allows for real-time sharing of photographs and other information of possible cases of child abuse between pediatricians at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City and nurses and investigators in communities like Logan.
“Our job is not to just recognize kids who are abused, but to recognize kids who are not abused as well,” said Dr. Lori Frasier, medical director of Primary Children’s Safe and Healthy Families Medical Assessment Team. “Before this software was developed, there was no secure system for reviewing photos from a remote site.”
Here’s how the system works: Possible victims of child abuse can go to the Children’s Justice Center at 1362 N. 400 West and undergo a medical examination that includes photographs taken with special cameras. The photos are then uploaded to the TeleCAM software, where they can be securely analyzed by Frasier or other physicians.
The software eliminates the need for photos to be e-mailed, which wasn’t very secure, and also allows for Frasier or other authorized persons to view the photos from anywhere in the world with Internet access.
Allowing children to undergo the medical evaluation in Logan, which has been an available service since 2003, makes it so kids don’t have to go to Salt Lake City for examinations.
“Children don’t have to go through the canyon and get on a freeway and go down to Primary Children’s,” Frasier said.
Before local Children’s Justice Centers had medical examination capability, pediatric nurse practitioner Jeanlee Carver said, children would have to be taken to Salt Lake and undergo long waits in an emergency room to be checked.
Perhaps the best use for the software, Carver and Frasier argued, was the on-demand ability to get expert analysis of possible child abuse cases. Chris Cochella, Visualshare’s chief operations officer, demonstrated the software Monday by showing pictures of a 5-month-old baby who had a broken leg and a black eye.
Frasier said that in the case involving the 5-month old, the parent’s story was that the child had fallen off a counter. Many people would suspect child abuse was the cause of the injuries, but after pictures and X-rays of the baby were uploaded and analyzed by pediatricians, it was discovered the baby had Rickets. The black eye was caused by a blood clot, and the broken bone happened because of vitamin-D deficiency.
“To me, that’s a good outcome,” Frasier said of discovering the 5-month old wasn’t a victim of child abuse. "I like happy endings. It’s better than taking them to court and it’s better than removing children from their families.”
Source: The Herald Journal (formerly Logan News)