Video analysis system helps diagnose childhood autism
July 07, 2020
Italy’s Modena Hospital uses a video analysis system to help diagnose autism and improve children’s care.
Symptoms like lack of eye contact, limited body language, repetitive movements and poor language use are common in children with autism, but they can be hard to spot in a routine office examination. That’s why Modena Hospital’s Child Neuropsychiatry Out-Patient Clinic installed a video analysis system.
Recordings help us capture and analyze patients’ verbal and non-verbal behaviors. This way we can make a more accurate evaluation and determine whether their condition improves or worsens.
Dr. Angela Russo, Head of the hospital’s autism center.
Compliant software, strong results
The video analysis system is a pilot project done in partnership with Comitel, a system integrator that has 30+ years of experience working with telecommunications, IT, networking and video-surveillance.

“We installed an IP camera in a corner of a room at the clinic to capture images from a 90° angle. To optimize the performance of the sound feature, we customized the system by placing the digital microphone, which is normally embedded in the camera, in the middle of the room,” says Luca Boschetti, Project Manager at Comitel.

The system uses Milestone’s XProtect™ Express+ platform. Recordings are automatically sent to an external server, where they are stored in adherence to the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).   

It’s important for medical staff to follow patients’ condition over time and refer back to previous recordings. For this, Comitel uses Milestone XProtect to automatically transfer video recordings to a secondary storage, when required by GDPR. This way, data is only accessible to relevant medical staff.   

With XProtect’s multiple customization features, Comitel also set up virtual “start” and “stop” buttons so medical staff can control when patients were being recorded.

“To comply with privacy regulations, it is crucial for us to operate the system only when we really need it,” says Russo.

A child-focused approach
Clinic staff received training in how to use Milestone’s software and are now able to operate it on their own.
The technology has become an essential component of our clinical practice. The added value is huge both for us and for the patients, who can now receive stimuli in an unobtrusive manner and avoid the need to go through the same tests repeatedly. Since recordings can be reviewed later, examinations are conducted in a way that allow us to focus on the patient’s immediate needs.
Dr. Angela Russo
The video system was launched at the child neuropsychology out-patient clinic in June 2019 and is expected to be replicated in other departments of Modena Hospital.