Child Abuse Identification Using Medical Records

Using the Electronic Medical Record to Improve Outcomes and Decrease Disparities in Screening for Child Physical Abuse

Protocol Description

Through this study researchers hope to determine whether the electronic medical record (EMR) can be used to help physicians recognize and diagnose cases of physical child abuse. This study involves a multi-step process that begins with integrating evidence-based “triggers” into the EMR that may help physicians screen for physical abuse. System testing and training clinical personnel and social workers to use the system will follow. The ability to recognize abuse, particularly in its less severe forms, may help to reduce morbidity and mortality due to child physical abuse, which is the leading cause of trauma-related death in children younger than 4 years in the United States.

Eligibility Criteria

Researchers will examine EMR information for patients of both genders, infants through age 2, identified as being at increased risk for physical abuse.


Compliance rates will be compared against evidence-based screening protocols for child physical abuse before and after implementation of a trigger system within the Cerner EMR using a parallel group randomized controlled trial.
Visits: Not applicable
Duration: Not applicable

Source(s) of Support

Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI)

Additional Information

Study Description at PCORI

Primary Investigator

Rachel Berger, MD, MPH

Contact Information

For information, please contact:
Rachel Berger, MD, MPH
Research Coordinator Emily Heineman