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The Benefits of Virtual Neonatology

How SSM Health Cardinal Glennon’s TeleNICU Program Resulted in a 35% Reduction of Nursery Transfers

InTouch Health recently partnered with SSM Health Cardinal Glennon to create a TeleNICU program, aiming to reduce the number of unnecessary neonatal transfers. SSM Health Cardinal Glennon regularly receives newborn transfers that could have been prevented if onsite staff had access to neonatal specialists. Their telehealth program virtually connects staff members to remote neonatologists that can help stabilize the patient until a transport team can arrive and decide whether the patient needs to be transferred to a neonatal care facility. 

Partnering with SSM Health Cardinal Glennon to Improve Neonatal Care

According to national statistics:

  • 10% of all babies born are preterm,
  • 8.6% of all babies born are low birthweight,
  • 20% of all infant deaths due to a birth defect, and 
  • 14.5% of all pregnant women receive inadequate or no prenatal care.

SSM Health Cardinal Glennon’s initial goal was to reduce the transfer rate by expanding access to neonatal services. Using telehealth technology, the TeleNICU program sought to develop a care plan in collaboration with local pediatricians and facilities, which would include remote intervention when patient stabilization is necessary. The new TeleNICU program would also need to be scalable with industry-leading network quality and support.

InTouch Health previously collaborated with SSM Health Cardinal Glennon to develop their TeleMFM (maternal-fetal medicine) program, which included purpose-built software and devices, the ability to interface with ultrasound/sonogram, and 24/7 network support. Building on this existing relationship, SSM Health Cardinal Glennon and InTouch Health developed a TeleNICU program that met the high standards set by both the remote and onsite clinical providers. 

According to preliminary data, 8 to 10% of total births would benefit from an additional consultation with a neonatologist, and 3 to 5% of total births would benefit from a full neonatology care plan and would most likely need to be transferred to a tertiary care facility. 

Sharing SSM Health Cardinal Glennon’s vision for improving neonatal services, InTouch Health had the tools and expertise to bring the program to life, as well as the resources to ensure a smooth transition. The result is more operationally efficient and scalable than if SSM Health Cardinal Glennon were to build its own telemedicine neonatal support program. 

Tracking the Results

Once the program went into effect, InTouch Health and SSM Health Cardinal Glennon developed a case study that analyzed the results of the program. Discover the ways in which both patients and providers benefitted from the implementation of a TeleNICU program here
Learn more about neonatal telehealth solutions and how they can benefit patients and care providers.