245276 An Evaluation of a Domestic Violence (DV) Information System: The House of Ruth, Maryland's 24-Hour Hotline DV Surveillance System

Monday, October 31, 2011

Pammie Gabrielle Renee Crawford, MPhil, SM , International Health, Health Systems Division/Department of Health Information Systems, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health/Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD
Jessica R. N. White , Data Systems Manager, House Of Ruth Maryland, Inc., Baltimore, MD
Mary McGeady , Director of Finance and Administration, House of Ruth Maryland, Inc., Baltimore, MD
Background: The House of Ruth, Maryland (HRM) is a domestic violence (DV) service organization providing a variety of services: shelter, therapeutic counseling, legal advocacy and representation, and community advocacy. It serves DV survivors locally in Baltimore and throughout the country via a 24-Hour Hotline. An online surveillance information system is used by the HRM's 24-Hour DV Hotline to detect, collect and monitor DV episodes.

Methods: An evaluation of the HRM's 24-Hour DV Hotline using CDC surveillance evaluation criteria was performed. Evaluation criteria included: System Purpose and Components, Usefulness, Flowchart, Characteristics of the System (including Simplicity, Flexibility, Data Quality and Use, Acceptability, Sensitivity, Predictive Value Positive, Representativeness, Timeliness, Stability, Privacy); Resources Used, Quality Checks, Strengths and Limitations, and Recommendations for Improvement. Issues requiring further information were clarified through an extensive in-depth interview and further contact with the DV surveillance system administrator.

Results: Surveillance system strengths included its simplicity, flexibility, privacy, timeliness and stability. Limitations included insufficient information on sensitivity, predictive value positive and representativeness. Data quality and flexibility were also limitations, (flexibility is both a strength and limitation). Many limitations (including sensitivity, predictive value positive, representativeness and data quality) were due to the nature of DV and the sensitivity of DV data collection.

Conclusions: The HRM uses a unique approach to detect, track and monitor DV episodes through an online surveillance system used for the 24-Hour DV Hotline. Collected data can inform and improve HRM client services. It also serves to inform outside agencies as reports of aggregated data provide a clear and current picture of the continuing mental, physical and emotional health impact DV has on public health. Other health and social service providers could benefit from learning about the HRM's online surveillance system and how it is used to assist DV survivors.

Learning Areas:
Communication and informatics
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe an uniquely designed Domestic Violence Surveillance System Evaluate a Domestic Violence (DV) Surveillance System used by a Domestic Violence Service Organization Identify the strengths and limitations of an online 24-Hour Domestic Violence surveillance system Discuss how the Domestic Violence Surveillance System helps the service provider meet DV survivor needs

Keywords: Information Systems, Domestic Violence

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conducted the evaluation of the domestic violence surveillance system.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.