Sunday, February 24, 2008

Technology for Neonatal Care

Researchers at the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital are studying how medication barcode scanning can be effectively used in a neonatal intensive care unit that does not include CPOE. This study is looking at not only the effectiveness of how the system could decrease the combined incidence of preventable and potential adverse drug events, but also how the system could be used to measure the reduction in all medication errors, and then determine if the safety gains achieved can be maintained. The hypothesis is that in this environment, barcode scanning may reduce preventable and potential adverse drug events by at least 45% and still be maintained.

In another research project, Moberg Research Inc in Ambler Pennsylvania with support from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke is developing a neonatal EEG monitor that has the capability to use accurate analysis methods to enable earlier detection and management of brain injury in the neonatal population. The monitor could help make care decisions, measure treatment success, would enable more widespread monitoring of the brain status in newborns, and generally promote improved outcomes.

The monitor would have the capability to do complete EEG reviews with verification by clinicians. This would enable more accurate prognoses of neurologically at risk newborns to be done. Unlike adults, neonates cannot undergo traditional mental status testing. Presently, the use of EEG is well established as a means to characterize the health of the cerebral cortex in neonates. However, the availability of expert neonatal EEG interpretation is very limited and at present is available at relatively few specialized pediatric centers in the country.