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Tech to the rescue: IoT solution helps save lives of newborns

BV Mahalakshmi

New-age cloud-based solutions empower healthcare organisations by helping them build and deploy virtual health assistants for doctors with accurate information. Medical experts say that effective usage of data within intensive care units (ICUs) have a great potential to create new cloud-based health analytics solutionsand help arrive at accurate diagnosis, right from neonatal care to geriatrics.

In 2016, Harpreet Singh co-founded a cloud, IoT and data analytics-based software solution called iNICU (integrated Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) bringing all the data within neonatal ICUs to one platform. A comprehensive integrated platform, it was especially designed to address all the current issues of NICU such as tedious workflow, integration of the data generated by multiple devices at one place, automatic drug and nutrition calculator, auto-discharge summary, complete assessment sheets for all critical biological systems of newborns, digitalised prescription, laboratory reports, nursing notes, prenatal data, notifications alerts to the doctor, parent engagement, predictive analytics and NICU management.

According to Singh, the iNICU technology acts as an affordable neonatal bedside safety surveillance system that links diverse bedside medical devices irrespective of the vendor. It reduces manual charting errors and enables doctors and nurses to access time series data of patients anytime and anywhere.

In addition, we have developed a mathematical model to leverage the captured data in iNICU to predict morbidity in newborns, which adaptively improves with incoming data, he says.

Realising the potential of this technology in saving lives of newborns, maternity and children s hospital chain Apollo Cradle bought this patented technology and renamed it as electronic NICU (eNICU). eNICU at Apollo Cradle will enable the care of babies that is difficult in most other hospitals. The cloud-based system also manages doctors workflow, nursing workflow and resident doctor handovers, Vishnu Vardhan Reddy, consultant, neonatolgist and paediatrician, Apollo Cradle, Hyderabad, says. NICU helps in those complicated tiny calculations and reduce errors in drug dosages, he explains.

Newborn ICUs, which take care of extremely ill and tiny babies, are equipped with loads of monitoring devices to keep track of every change in the baby s condition. But these devices can t do everything on their own, they have to be tracked manually for various parameters and evaluations. eNICU presents an affordable digitised platform to manage the clinical workflow by interoperating with medical devices, ’ says Avneet Kaur, paediatrician and neonatologist, Apollo Cradle, Maternity and Child- Care Hospital, New Delhi.

eNICU can be used for hub spoke model to interact with other NICUs where specialist services are not available. Real-time data acquired through this system can be used to predict early onset of critical diseases. Hence this is one healthcare solution with the help of an electronic platform saves time, efforts, resources and most importantly, it saves lives. This technology is a game changer for NICUs and world calls for it to save neonatal lives, Kaur adds.

Going forward, the iNICU data will be extended to integrated Child Health Record (ICHR cloud) application, which is an engagement platform to record and monitor the immunisation schedule, health, growth and developmental profile of the child from birth to the age of 20 years. It would provide complete growth surveillance of the child.

The plan is to link iNICU solutions at various sites into NICU Analytics as a Service (NICaaS), a grid which will bridge the gap of specialised doctors for NICUs across the country by providing services in the field of neonatology with a network of remotely connected NICUs.