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Admissions to a low resource neonatal unit in Malawi using The NeoTree application: A digital perinatal outcome audit

Crehan, C; Kesler, E; Chikamoni, I; Sun, K; Dube, Q; Lakhanpaul, M; Heys, M; (2020) Admissions to a low resource neonatal unit in Malawi using The NeoTree application: A digital perinatal outcome audit. JMIR mHealth and uHealth , 8 (10) 10.2196/16485. Green open access

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Abstract

Background: Mobile-health has increasing potential to address health outcomes in under-resourced settings as smart-phone coverage increases. The NeoTree is a mobile-health application co-developed in Malawi to improve the quality of newborn care at the point of admission to neonatal units. While collecting vital demographic and clinical data this interactive platform provides clinical decision-support, and training for the end-users (health care workers (HCW)), according to evidence based national and international guidelines. Objective: Our aims were to examine one month of data collected using the NeoTree in an outcome audit of babies admitted to a district-level neonatal nursery in Malawi and to demonstrate proof of concept of digital audit data in this setting. Methods: Using a phased approach over one month (21 Nov – 19 Dec, 2016), frontline HCWs were trained and supported to use the NeoTree to admit newborns. Discharge data were collected by the research team using a discharge form within the NeoTree ‘NeoDischarge’. Descriptive analysis was conducted on the exported pseudonomysed data and presented to the newborn care department as a digital audit. Results: Of 191 total admissions, 134 (70%) admissions were completed using the NeoTree and 129 (67%) were exported and analysed. Of these 129, 102 (79%) were discharged alive. Overall case fatality rate was 93 per 1000 admitted babies. Prematurity with respiratory distress syndrome, Birth Asphyxia, and Neonatal sepsis contributed to 41.6%, 58.3% and 16.6% of deaths respectively. Deaths may have been under-reported due to phased implementation and some families of babies with imminent deaths self-discharging home. Detailed characterisation of the data enabled departmental discussion of modifiable factors for quality improvement, for example improved thermoregulation of infants. Conclusions: This digital outcome audit demonstrates that data can be captured digitally at the bedside by HCWs in under-resourced newborn facilities and these data can contribute to meaningful review of quality of care/outcomes and potential modifiable factors. Coverage may be improved during future implementation by streamlining the admission process to be solely via digital format. Our results present a new methodology for newborn audit in low-resource settings and are a proof of concept for a novel newborn data system in these settings.

Type: Article
Title: Admissions to a low resource neonatal unit in Malawi using The NeoTree application: A digital perinatal outcome audit
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.2196/16485
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/16485
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in JMIR mHealth and uHealth, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on http://mhealth.jmir.org/, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.
Keywords: infant, newborn; mHealth; data collection (52); clinical audit (2); digital health (335); low income population (2); mobile phone (832)
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health > Population, Policy and Practice Dept
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10102448
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