Data mining to detect domestic violence

According to Wired:

Now, a group of researchers at Harvard University has created the first computer model to automatically detect the risk that a patient is being abused at home. The results were published Sept. 29 in the British Medical Journal.

“It’s a great concept,” said Debra Houry, an emergency physician at Emory University, who was not involved in the research. Although around one in four women experience domestic violence at some point in their lives, she says, the problem often goes unnoticed at a doctor’s visit. “It’s one of those hidden epidemics where they don’t come up to you and disclose the issue.”

But it won't supplant the need for domestic-violence-related CME:

But screening isn’t the end-all, be-all for victims of domestic violence, says Gene Feder of the University of Bristol. He recently reviewed several trials of screening programs and found that none of them measured whether or not screening led to fewer deaths and injuries among abused women.

“Is [the new computer model] suitable for implementation in in-patient hospital and ER hospital settings without further testing?” he wrote in an e-mail to “Not without suitable training for clinicians in how to ask about abuse of the designated high-risk women and how to manage the women safely.”

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