A Novel Image-based Tool to Reunite Children With Their Families After Disasters

and Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.
Academic Emergency Medicine (Impact Factor: 2.01). 11/2012; 19(11):1227-34. DOI: 10.1111/acem.12013
Source: PubMed


Reuniting children with their families after a disaster poses unique challenges. The objective was to pilot test the ability of a novel image-based tool to assist a parent in identifying a picture of his or her children.
A previously developed image-based indexing and retrieval tool that employs two advanced vision search algorithms was used. One algorithm, Feature-Attribute-Matching, extracts facial features (skin color, eye color, and age) of a photograph and then matches according to parental input. The other algorithm, User-Feedback, allows parents to choose children on the screen that appear similar to theirs and then reprioritizes the images in the database. This was piloted in a convenience sample of parent-child pairs in a pediatric tertiary care hospital. A photograph of each participating child was added to a preexisting image database. A double-blind randomized crossover trial was performed to measure the percentage of database reviewed and time using the Feature-Attribute-Matching-plus-User-Feedback strategy or User-Feedback strategy only. Search results were compared to a theoretical random search. Afterward, parents completed a survey evaluating satisfaction.
Fifty-one parent-child pairs completed the study. The Feature-Attribute-Matching-plus-User-Feedback strategy was superior to the User-Feedback strategy in decreasing the percentage of database reviewed (mean ± SD = 24.1 ± 20.1% vs. 35.6 ± 27.2%; mean difference = -11.5%; 95% confidence interval [CI] = -21.5% to -1.4%; p = 0.03). Both were superior to the random search (p < 0.001). Time for both searches was similar despite fewer images reviewed in the Feature-Attribute-Matching-plus-User-Feedback strategy. Sixty-eight percent of parents were satisfied with the search and 87% felt that this tool would be very or extremely helpful in a disaster.
This novel image-based reunification system reduced the number of images reviewed before parents identified their children. This technology could be further developed to assist future family reunifications in a disaster.

Download full-text


Available from: Sonja Ziniel, Mar 27, 2015
  • Source

    Preview · Article · Sep 2013 · PEDIATRICS
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Innovations in communications technology, computer systems and software, and medical as well as nonmedical devices occur rapidly, and it may be difficult for clinical practice modifications to keep pace. The goals of this review are to discuss emerging technologies in emergency medical services (EMS) and to highlight studies and resources supported by the EMS for Children program. We will describe applications of new technology in the areas of EMS processes, telemedicine, patient monitoring and treatment, disaster management, and provider education.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2014 · Clinical Pediatric Emergency Medicine
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Nearly 27% of all annual emergency department (ED) visits are pediatric related, a relatively small percentage in comparison to the number of visits from the adult population. The majority of the 31 million children and adolescents access care in nonpediatric facilities and have different clinical presentations and needs than adults. Administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration within the Department of Health and Human Services, the Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) program is a federal entity that aims to ensure that pediatric care is well integrated into the entire emergency medical services system so that no matter where a child lives or travels, he or she can receive appropriate and timely care. The objective of this article is to describe the role of the EMSC program in the development of the pediatric emergency care system. The program is striving to improve pediatric emergency care in a number of ways: EMSC State Partnership grant performance measures address the ability of the out-of-hospital and hospital settings to care for children; the National Pediatric Readiness project works with EDs to ensure that essential resources are present to care for children; regionalization grants focus on the challenges of geographic isolation, access to specialty care, and limited resources; and the targeted issue grants focus on the care of the child in the out-of-hospital setting in which there is a paucity of evidence-based knowledge. Copyright © 2014 American College of Emergency Physicians. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2014 · Annals of Emergency Medicine
Show more