UCSF exploits epic EHR, FHIR to manage weight loss problem in newborns

weight loss problem in newborns

Managing weight loss problem in newborns

Clinicians to use a new tool integrated with UCSF’s Epic EHR to bring an improvement in care for newborns during the first month of their life.

University of California San Francisco (UCSF) is introducing an innovative tool that leverages information from the health system’s Epic EHR in order to allow the clinicians to enhance the clinical decision support system for health providers who care for newborns during the first month of their lives.

The tool powers SMART on Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) to support the new tool, which will automatically gather data and assimilate the information directly into Epic EHR. Developed and maintained by HL 7, FHIR is an internet-based data standard intended to connect different distinct data elements.

Weight loss is a usual occurrence for healthy newborns in the first few days after their birth, particularly for those babies who totally rely on breastfeeding, up until mothers start to produce ample amounts of milk in about 2-5 days after giving birth.

Although the loss of weight in newborns is normal, it can be a tense situation for the new parents, and if not looked after carefully, might lead to health consequences, as if weight loss is more than normal, it can lead to hyperbilirubinemia and dehydration.

Put together; these problems can create recurring barriers to leading a healthy first month of life and can be the source of the majority of neonatal readmissions.

Healthy start

The new study at UCSF called Healthy Start has been intended to direct the management of newborn weight loss to lessen the possibility of neonatal readmissions using electronic health record (EHR).

As part of the study, a Newborn Weight Tool (NEWT) is aiming to help providers to reassure the new parents about the normal weight loss patterns for the newborns and decide whether their weight loss is getting to the level where it is not normal.

Valerie Flaherman, MD, MPH, an associate professor of Pediatrics at UCSF and the chief author of the Healthy Start study, said that the team is hoping that this will enhance the decision-making about whether the added feeding or other interventions are needed or not.

The Newborn Weight Tool (NEWT) is a web-based application that will provide clinicians with hourly newborn weight loss nomograms to help with the early identification of those who are on a course for adverse consequences.

NEWT was developed by Ian Paul who is MD, M.Sc. at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital, Flaherman, the lead investigator of Healthy Start, and Michael Kuzniewicz, who is the MD, MPH, a neonatologist at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco.

Researchers at UCSF incorporated the tool into Epic HER to reduce the administrative burden. Earlier the clinicians who wished to use the nomogram for patient management were needed to exit the electronic health record so as to use a browser for doing manual data entry, or to employ IT support at their organization for a multifaceted EHR-based build.

The Healthy Start study has fundamentally made it easier to implement and use NEWT by incorporating it straight into APeX, which is UCSF Health’s EPIC-based EHR system and automating the data collection process with the help of an external integration platform.

Image credit: www.pixabay.de


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