Neonatal Telehealth: Improving care for critically ill neonates in rural Alberta

Last modified by Doug Maynard on 2018/12/12 21:37

The Stollery Children’s Hospital (SCH) is the tertiary care neonatal referral centre for central and northern Alberta, the Northwest Territories and part of Nunavut. From this catchment area the SCH Neonatal Transport Team transports 350 neonates per year to a higher level of care. In addition, the SCH transport neonatologist receives an additional 260 consultations per year from rural Alberta, where advice is provided to continue care at referral sites. The traditional method for neonatal consultation is the provincial call centre connecting referral site physicians by telephone with SCH transport neonatologist and the neonatal transport team. The NICU to Nursery Telehealth provides additional information via audiovisual connections to assist in clinical decision making, provision of advice, family centred care and determination whether neonatal transportation is required. The program started in 2014/2015 as a pilot project with 3 rural hospitals. After demonstrating utility and feasibility the program has been expanded to 20 referral sites over the course of two years.  Offsite access to join audio-video connections was established for after-hours calls.

We will review data collected on Telehealth consultations from January 1 to December 31, 2017. During the observation period a total of 54 neonatal consultations were completed pertaining to 49 unique neonates from 13 referral sites. Advice was provided for ongoing local management in 46% of consultations; advice and neonatal transportation to a higher level of care was required for 50% of consultations. Ninety eight percent of individual completing Neonatal Telehealth Log Form reported the audiovisual connection supported care of the neonate. Clinician comments were overwhelmingly favourable towards the program. Thirty four percent of audiovisual connections occurred after-hours.

Click here to view the slides used in this presentation.

Dr. Jennifer Toye
Jennifer Toye is a Neonatologist in Edmonton, Alberta, where she is the medical lead for the Stollery Neonatal Transport Team. In addition to neonatal transport and telemedicine her medical interests include epidemiology, public health, long-term neonatal outcomes, family centred care and quality improvement.

Laurie Shick RN
Laurie Schick is a Registered Nurse presently working as a Clinical Facilitator in Virtual Health at Alberta Health Services in Edmonton, Alberta. Prior to this Laurie worked in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton for 23 years primarily as a Transport nurse. The combination of neonatal and virtual health experience has provided Laurie with the foundation to successfully assist in developing and implementing the Stollery Children’s Hospital NICU to Nursery videoconference program.

Maureen Wass M.A.
Maureen Wass is an analyst with the Virtual Health team in Alberta Health Services. Maureen has over 20 years’ experience in supporting the evaluation of virtual care initiatives in Alberta, focused initially on Mental Health and more recently on provincial Virtual Health activities.

Natalie Mercy
Natalie Mercy is a neonatal nurse practitioner at the NICU at Stollery Children's Hospital and is the clinical lead for the neonatal transport team.


Created by Doug Maynard on 2018/11/20 17:51