Fathers treasure memories of those fragile moments when they first peered through the rectangular window of the hospital nursery and surveyed rows of babies wrapped in pink and blue blankets to find their newborn daughter or son. But most did not realize that besides the nursery’s busy doctors and nurses, something else was helping the clinicians watch over baby’s (and mom’s) well-being.
That something else was GE’s Centricity* Perinatal, the unsung hero of the maternity ward. Centricity Perinatal is an electronic clinical information system that has been aiding clinicians keep an electronic eye on mothers and babies, tracking their heartbeats and other vital signals for the last 22 years. In October, the system helped watch over the birth of Kithana Vasana Syharath in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, who was Centricity’s 35 millionth baby. In fact, babies today have a 60 percent chance that he or she was born in a hospital utilizing this system**.
By the time Kithana reached the hospital nursery, she and Centricity Perinatal were old friends. That’s because the system was used to help keep track of Kithana and her mom from the moment they settled down on a bed in the labor and delivery unit. She was first observed through a fetal monitor by clinicians, as data was recorded in the system. Although the data was displayed at a monitor at her mom’s bedside, it was also accessible remotely to doctors and nurses across the hospital campus. Kithana’s and her mom’s record was being updated throughout her birth and their entire hospital stay until they were both ready to go home for the first time as a family.
The nearly-paperless system can also be used in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). It can do so because it is scalable and clinicians can implement changes quickly as care situations evolve. Since all data is entered, stored and accessed online, the system can help reduce discrepancies that may lead to errors.
Touro Infirmary in New Orleans, Louisiana, implemented Centricity in its NICU a year ago. The system “has provided us with a very large step forward,” said Irene Mitchell, primary care manager of labor and delivery at Touro. “It gives us a comprehensive and more complete documentation of each and every patient that ever stayed with us.”
As for Kithana, she is also going to be holding on to some “documents” for a while. GE gave her a $5,000 U.S. Savings Bond. Her mom says that it will go towards her education.
Centricity Perinatal does not replace clinical observation and evaluation of the patient at regular intervals, by a qualified care provider, who will make diagnoses and decide on treatments or interventions. Features of the Centricity Perinatal system are intended to support clinical decision making and should be used in combination with other clinical inputs, such as real time patient observation and information contained within other systems or recording tools. It is not intended to be used as a primary monitoring device.
*GE, the GE monogram and Centricity are trademarks of General Electric Company.
**Estimated US birth rate is based on data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/births.htm and applicable customer data.