Globally, 60 percent of babies admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit have low body temperature. And as Carrie Eglinton Manner, general manager of Maternal Infant Care for GE Healthcare, explains, “Studies show that every one-degree Celsius drop in baby’s body temperature increases the likelihood of death by 10 percent. It’s clearly crucial to do everything possible to prevent heat loss.” While incubators and baby warmers do the heavy lifting in the warmth department, there is still a risky window that emerges when weak babies need to be transported either from the delivery room or to other parts of the hospital, such as radiology and operating rooms. Now a transportable power source that can attach to those units has just been cleared by the FDA. The goal is to help minimize stress for premature and ill infants by reducing transfers, unnecessary handling and exposure to cold temperatures.
“In their first minutes of life, sick babies are transferred from Labor & Delivery warmers to transport incubators for the trip to the NICU. Then they’re moved into the warmers or incubators that will serve as their homes in the hospital,” said Karen Starr, MIC clinical marketing manager and neonatal nurse practitioner, GE Healthcare. “That means disrupting their environment a minimum of two times. For some, this may be just the beginning, as they may be transported to surgery or radiology for various procedures, undergoing additional transfers there and then enduring the reverse process to make the trip back to the NICU.”
Known as the Giraffe Shuttle, the power source attaches to GE’s Giraffe and Panda families of incubators and warmers, and reduces the potential for clinical problems that can result from interrupting the heat source and extra handling and movement – all of which may challenge health stability when moving babies to and from a transport incubator. The Giraffe Shuttle provides up to 45 minutes of electrical power and can accommodate accessories and auxiliary equipment such as life support monitors, ventilators and infusion pumps that may be needed during intra-hospital transport.
Elsewhere on the healthcare front, a new technology to tackle the tough issue of medical errors is taking another step forward. GE Healthcare’s Smart Patient Room pilot at Bassett Medical Center has been approved to begin data collection at the Center’s 180-bed, acute care inpatient teaching facility in Cooperstown, NY. It’s designed to track protocol adherence such as proper hand hygiene compliance before and after interacting with a patient, periodic clinical rounding, and monitor for increased risk of patient fall.
According to the Institute of Medicine, medical error is the eighth leading cause of death in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 44,000 to 100,000 preventable deaths per year. Falls alone cost the U.S. healthcare system $1 billion annually, according to the American Hospital Association.
As Reuters explained, “Hand-washing is just one of the practices that the system is designed to track. Using a series of cameras that attract and analyze movement, it can also warn hospital staff if a patient is trying to get out of bed — a time when patients are more likely to fall and injure themselves.” And as eWeek.com noted: “The technology consists of optical sensors, RFID tags, facial recognition, computer vision algorithms, cameras and speakers installed in existing hospital rooms to monitor patient safety and reduce medical errors, according to GE.”
|Far-sighted: The green light for data collection at Bassett was announced during a media day held at GE’s Global Research Center in upstate New York. The future of optical imaging was also discussed at the event — such as the work being done by GE scientists to develop ways to help doctors better visualize cancerous tissue and avoid sensitive areas such as nerve endings. Siavash Yazdanfar, one of GE’s optical scientists, is seen above at the event.|
Read a full recap of the Global Research event, which was called “ See the Future of Healthcare Technology Today,” on GE Healthcare’s news blog.
* Read the Giraffe announcement
* Read the Bassett Medical announcement
* Learn more about the Smart Patient Room on GE Reports
* Read more healthymagination stories on GE Reports
* Read more Global Research stories on GE Reports