Harbor House Unveils Nation's First Domestic Violence Screening App

A new mobile app from Harbor House of Central Florida is working to turn smartphones and iPads in hospitals and doctors' offices into powerful screening tools that help identify victims of domestic abuse and direct them to the help they need.

"Domestic abuse is a chronic and potentially life-threatening condition that is both preventable and treatable," said Carol Wick, Harbor House CEO. "We created this app because we know that screening for domestic violence and referring victims to advocacy services results in fewer violence-related injuries and saves lives."

The R3 App, which stands for Recognize, Respond and Refer, is the first mobile domestic violence screening tool in the U.S. and the leverages the HITS process created 13 years ago by Dr. Kevin Sherin, Director of the Orange County (Fla.) Health Department.

HITS uses four screening questions to assess if a patient has been a victim of abuse:

Over the last 12 months, how often did your partner:

    Physically hurt you?
    Insult you or talk down to you?
    Threaten you with physical harm?
    Scream or curse at you?

Using the new app, health professionals will ask patients to respond to each of these questions using a 5-point scale: never (1), rarely, sometimes, fairly often, and frequently (5). Score values range from a minimum of 4 to a maximum of 20. A score over 10 will alert a professional to offer help to the patient, and allow the screener to access the contact information for the nearest domestic violence shelter in America by simply entering a zip code.

Florida Hospital, who provided the funding to help develop the R3 App, will be among the first to equip its medical teams with the screening tool.

"There are a significant number of domestic abuse cases that go undetected in doctors' offices and emergency rooms across the country, and we felt compelled to help mobilize what we know to be a highly effective screening process," said Rich Morrison, title Florida Hospital. "We truly believe this app will help save thousands, if not millions of lives."

Wick sees opportunity for the R3 App well beyond the obvious hospital and doctor office outlets.

"I'd love to see the day when EMTs and other emergency personnel not only in America but around the world use the R3 App to offer assistance to anyone in need," Wick added. "Our plans are to offer a Spanish version of the app in the near future, and I hope to hear from other countries about how they can deploy this tool."

The app is available at no charge via iTunes and the Android marketplace.

About Harbor House
Harbor House is Orange County's only state-certified domestic violence facility and seeks to eliminate domestic violence in Central Florida by providing safety, shelter, empowerment, education and justice. Harbor House provides safe shelter, a 24-hour crisis hotline, counseling, and emotional support, and legal advocacy for thousands of domestic violence survivors and their children each year. Harbor House also prepares survivors for re-entry into the community - connecting them to resources that will enable them to live independently, safely and peacefully.

About Florida Hospital
Opened in 1908, Florida Hospital is a faith-based institution focused on providing whole person care. It is one of the largest not-for-profit hospitals in the country, caring for more than a million patient visits per year - more than any other hospital in the country, according to the American Hospital Association. The more than 2,000-bed system is comprised of eight hospitals, including the Walt Disney Pavilion at Florida Hospital for Children, 30 outpatient facilities and 20 Centra Care locations throughout Central Florida. Florida Hospital provides a wide range of health services, including many nationally and internationally recognized programs in cardiology, cancer, women's medicine, neurosciences, diabetes, orthopedics, pediatrics and advanced surgical programs. Florida Hospital is a designated statutory teaching hospital and also trains physicians from all around the world on the newest technologies. For more information, please visit www.floridahospital.com.

About Echo
Founded in late 2008 by Carlos Carbonell and Mat Gaver, Echo Interaction Group is the leading mobile application and interactive media development company in Central Florida. With expertise working across several different verticals nationwide - including gaming, banking, nonprofit, government and real estate - Echo provides top-to-bottom services for the conception, strategy, marketing, and development of mobile applications for iOS, Android and Blackberry devices. The company has achieved several accomplishments - including winning the International Association for the Wireless Telecommunications Industry's "Best App" award - and pioneered the development of the first-ever mobile applications for voter registration, as well as for the building manufacturing and residential condominium industries. Currently, Echo is deeply entrenched in brand gamification via mobile and creating applications for municipal and federal government. For more information, please visit: www.justecho.com