Background: Infants born outside perinatal centres may have compromised outcomes due to unsatisfactory speed and efficiency of transfer to an appropriate tertiary centre. Newborns are among the most sensitive patients during the transition period after delivery. Adequate pre-transfer stabilization, safety during transport and ongoing intensive care in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) are essential to improve the outcome of transported neonates. This paper aims to show new possibilities of closely monitoring the critically ill newborns requiring transport to a NICU. The authors present a communication tool for sharing information before, during and after the transport of critically ill neonates. The system is able to transfer digital data of the ultrasonographic scans, medical data, videos and photos of critically ill newborns. Physicians with limited training and diagnostic and therapeutic tools in regional hospitals can find it difficult to formulate a reliable clinical picture of the disease or abnormality. This information-sharing technology can prevent complications and the progression of particular disorders and can support surveillance.
Results: During a period of three years, 38 newborns were transferred with the help of information technology (IT). The average birthweight was 2,024 g (min 650 g, max 4,150 g), average GA was 34.7 weeks (min 24, max 41). The most common diagnosis for transferring the newborns postnatally was respiratory distress syndrome or pulmonary maladaptation (23 cases, 61%).
Conclusions: High-risk births inevitably occur in non-tertiary hospitals, despite committed attempts to transfer at-risk women to perinatal centers before delivery by obstetrics teams. Therefore, modifications to prenatal advice, together with improvements in neonatal transport network services and intensive care facilities, could significantly improve the survival of transported neonates and minimize morbidity.