Sharing Data with Families
Neonatal care, where new infants requiring extra medical atten- tion are treated, is one of many areas where hospitals tradition- ally store large amounts of information in paper formats. The growing trend toward electronic medical records (EMRs) within hospitals often neglects neonatal care to focus on the adult hospital population. This was the case at Korea’s WonJu Chris- tian Hospital, where an EMR system serves adult patients, but the hospital used an older paper-based system in neonatal care.
The hospital recognized the need to develop an automated infant EMR system. Hospital administrators wanted to make it possible to more quickly share certain information on newborns with relatives, since the neonatal care area tightly restricts access to anyone but hospital personnel.
The hospital also wanted to reduce the possibility of mother and baby mix-ups during neonatal care and at discharge.
Like many hospitals, WonJu received requests from patients for a system that allowed better sharing of newborn and neonatal care information with families. Such a system is particularly important if there are medical complications at birth and the infant is taken to the neonatal intensive care unit (ICU).
To allow families quicker access to information on babies in the neonatal care unit, the hospital placed a kiosk outside the secure neonatal care area, as shown in Figure 1. The kiosk allows family and relatives to view a photo of the newborn along with select medical information such as height, weight, skin color, and temperature.
The hospital retains more in-depth medical information recorded during treatment in the neonatal care area and does not make that data publicly available.
In a six-month pilot program started in late 2004, the hospital worked with Intel to test new systems. The pilot systems put in place at WonJu allow better sharing of neonatal data with family members through the EMR system, and an Intel® architecture- based kiosk with a 17-inch plasma touch screen that provides access to select mother and infant data. The hospital also piloted an RFID-based system for preventing mother-baby mix-ups.
DATA ENTRY AND INFANT RECORD AUTOMATION A key feature of the information system is the automation of the infant’s medical record, which replaces the traditional paper- based process. Hospital personnel enter the data for each medical record, either through a personal digital assistant (PDA), or using a computer terminal in the neonatal care unit.
Figure 1. Kiosk at perimeter of neonatal care area, at left; menu choices and screen or ID number input, at right.