If a baby is in distress after birth, for instance, because it was born much too early or is severely oxygen deprived, the medical team must act quickly to save its life. A new tablet with smart software can help the team do just that.
The first few minutes are essential for a baby who has a poor start. “Of course, there are guidelines in place that tell you what to do,” explains Tim Antonius, neonatologist a Amalia Children’s Hospital, part of the Radboud university medical center (Radboudmc). The Newborn Life Support (NLS) guideline provides an overview of what to do if a baby is born in bad shape. “But there is no time in an acute situation to calmly read such a guideline,” says Antonius, who is also an NLS trainer.
“When a baby doesn’t have a heartbeat, an awful lot happens all at once. You have to perform CPR, administer medication and insert an IV. What’s more, you have to coordinate the team and anticipate what the next steps will be. There is a cognitive overload, so to speak. No matter how experienced you are as a team in caring for seriously ill babies.” A step is sometimes skipped in more than half of these situations. Several studies have shown, for example, time is sometimes forgotten or the guideline is deviated from in some other way.
Software provides guidance
In order to optimize the care of these sick babies, Antonius has developed a tablet with smart software that takes the team through the guidelines: ARNE. On the basis of the newborn’s vital parameters, an algorithm determines which step the team should take next. Those parameters are, for example, the heart rate and the oxygen level in the blood. “ARNE makes care more manageable. The software does not take over decision-making. But it does provide guidance and shows what the next step should be.”
ARNE has been used in a simulation setting at the Radboudumc for some time already. The study that was carried out shows that the team tends to stray from the guidelines less often and – even more importantly- fewer essential steps are missed. Also, ARNE has since been approved for use with patients.
ARNE recently received funding from OostNL and venture builder NLC to further develop the ‘Electronic Decision Support System‘ and bring it to the market. Oost NL is issuing the investment through ION+, an innovation fund for SMEs in the Dutch province of Gelderland. NLC has been involved with ARNE since 2019 as a co-founder of the company. NLC previously provided the initial funding during the start-up phase through their Momentum fund.