CLEARWATER, Fla., Dec. 19, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- BayCare, in conjunction with the Florida Department of Health (DOH), has created and launched an improved electronic system for newborn screening. Replacing what was once a very manual, labor-intensive process, this new computer interface speeds the testing process while increasing accuracy, allowing hospitals to receive results more quickly and provide care to patients with potentially life-threatening or debilitating illnesses sooner. BayCare is the first health system in Florida—and one of the first in United States—to implement this new process. It launched this month at St. Joseph's Hospital-North in Lutz and soon will expand to other BayCare hospitals.
"We are thrilled to partner with the DOH to take the lead on such an important project," said Kimberly Guy, senior vice president and head of women's services for BayCare. "Accurate, timely screening is critical in assessing newborn health and we have been able to shorten this process by days, which is crucial in treating babies with deficiencies. We are proud to offer this advanced testing procedure for our youngest patients."
With the standard newborn screening process, a few drops of blood are taken from the heel of the baby shortly after birth and collected on the Newborn Screening Specimen Collection Card. Accompanying the blood sample is information about the baby, mother and hospital, manually filled out by the patient's nurse. The card is mailed to the Bureau of Public Health Laboratories (BPHL) in Jacksonville, with the results then sent back to the hospital. This labor-intensive process presents myriad chances for error, which could delay the results and critical care that the newborn may require.
However, BayCare and the DOH worked together to create an electronic interface that streamlines the process, eliminating many of the common errors. When the newborn screening test is ordered by the hospital, the computer software automatically pulls information from the patient's medical records and sends it directly to the BPHL. It then creates a label for the blood sample, which is mailed for testing like before.
"Newborn screening is crucial to ensuring that all babies have the best start in life," said State Surgeon General and Secretary Dr. Celeste Philip. "The Florida Department of Health is proud to partner with BayCare to develop this streamlined process, and I am hopeful that other hospitals across the state will benefit from this improved system."
BayCare is a leading not-for-profit health care system that connects individuals and families to a wide range of services at 14 hospitals and hundreds of other convenient locations throughout the Tampa Bay and central Florida regions. Inpatient and outpatient services include acute care, primary care, imaging, laboratory, behavioral health, home care, and wellness. Our mission is to improve the health of all we serve through community-owned, health care services that set the standard for high-quality, compassionate care. For more information, visit www.BayCare.org.
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SOURCE BayCare Health System