TeleHealth Helps Newborns When They Need it Most

Intermountain-Healthcare-infant

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, approximately 10 percent of newborns require some assistance to begin breathing at birth and about 1 percent need extensive resuscitative measures to survive. We cannot always predict which newborns will require help.

When they do, our five Neonatal Intensive Care Units are staffed with pediatricians, neonatologists, and neonatal nurse practitioners that are specially trained to care for newborns from communities throughout the Intermountain West. These NICUs are found at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden, Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in Provo, and Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George.   

In areas without a NICU, we are now using TeleHealth technology to bring specialists to the baby and to support local physicians when they need it most. We use high quality cameras and microphones to allow caregivers at the NICU to see and hear the newborn, consult with the local doctor, and determine what steps are needed to care for the baby. Often it is determined that sick babies should be cared for in one of our NICUs, but in some cases, this service has helped keep babies out of the NICU and close to home.

Some of our hospitals, including those in Cedar City, American Fork, and Orem, are already using this service and are enthusiastic about how it is working. Plans are in place to make sure every Intermountain Labor and Delivery unit has access to this level of specialized care by the end of 2015, ensuring our babies have almost immediate access to the care they need when they need it most.