Orlando Health and Florida Department of Health Team Up to Develop Innovative Newborn Screening Process

August 15, 2019

Orlando, FL (August 15, 2019) – Orlando Health has teamed up with the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) to develop a more efficient and accurate way to collect mandated health data from newborn babies. Before leaving the hospital, five drops of blood are collected from babies and sent to FDOH to screen for 54 medical disorders, including cystic fibrosis and sickle cell anemia. It is crucial that the blood samples are sent and read quickly so that physicians and parents can move forward with additional testing or treatment. If not treated in a timely manner, some of these abnormalities can be life-threatening.

Prior to the implementation of the new and improved system with Orlando Health, the process involved several manual, handwritten steps, taking extra time and leaving room for human error. The hospital’s new streamlined process saves time by automating the data and sending it immediately and accurately to FDOH. The data is then already loaded when the physical blood samples arrive, making it faster and easier to follow up when any results come back abnormal. The same process is followed for newborn hearing screenings. 

“Orlando Health is the first and largest hospital system in the state to develop a system like this,” said Dr. Stacy Dickson, manager of the Orlando Health infant screening program. “Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies has about 14,000 births per year and, as such, we screen about 1,200 newborns per month. This new system is making this process more efficient for everyone, ultimately benefiting the families we serve.”

Between Orlando Health staff and FDOH, this new system is expected to save approximately 306 hours (or 13 days) per month in labor. The system was initially implemented at Orlando Health Winnie Palmer and now the entire Orlando Health system is sharing 100 percent of its newborn data with FDOH electronically.

“The Jacksonville Newborn Screening (NBS) Laboratory worked closely with Orlando Health on developing and initiating this innovative solution in electronic order submission,” stated the FDOH. “This approach benefits both the Florida Department of Health and Orlando Health by providing demographic data electronically to the laboratory information system. We were excited to collaborate with Orlando Health and are very pleased with its successful outcome. We’ll continue to offer this solution to other providers as an effective, more efficient alternative to submitting handwritten NBS demographic data.”

To learn more about newborn screenings, visit http://www.floridahealth.gov/programs-and-services/childrens-health/newborn-screening/index.html               

ORLANDO HEALTH WINNIE PALMER HOSPITAL for WOMEN & BABIES

Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies is a 350-bed facility dedicated exclusively to the needs of women and babies. The hospital includes comprehensive fetal diagnostics and labor and delivery services, a regional center for neonatal intensive care, maternal intensive care and women’s services. Annually, more than 14,000 babies are expected to be born at Winnie Palmer Hospital, making it the busiest labor and delivery unit in the state of Florida. The hospital is also home to the state’s only in-utero surgery program to repair Spina bifida defects. To learn more, visit www.winniepalmerhospital.com.

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