Following a complicated delivery, a newborn's outcome is associated
with the quality of care provided during the first minutes of life. Approximately 10% of newborns require help breathing after
birth, and one in 1,000 newborns require more intensive resuscitation
These infrequent, high-risk deliveries may present challenges to community hospitals less familiar with advanced newborn resuscitation interventions. Telemedicine consultations are a good option to help meet these challenges and positively impact patient care, suggested a study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
Jennifer Fang, a Mayo Clinic fellow in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine and one of the study's authors said, "As the first minutes of life after birth are important, it is critical to understand how telemedicine can be used to positively impact those outcomes."
"The enhanced access to neonatologists, who could remotely assess the newborn and guide the local care team through the resuscitation, allowed one-third of the babies to stay with their families in the local hospital," says Dr. Fang. "This allowed the patients to receive the correct level of care in the right location - increasing the value of care. Also, the potential cost savings can be substantial."
This study also looked at how the local care team and neonatologist collaborated. "Other research has shown that teamwork and communication are critical during neonatal emergencies. We wanted to assess how telemedicine affected teamwork and communication," according to Dr. Fang.
Providers responded positively to surveys that assessed teamwork and the impact of the telemedicine consult on patient safety and quality of care. "These results speak to the acceptability and clinical impact of this type of telemedicine project in community hospitals," says Dr. Fang.