The high number of false alarms in neonatal units which waste valuable medical time could be significantly reduced thanks to a system developed at the University of Edinburgh.
Alarms in neonatal units are linked to monitoring probes but they can sound off when a baby moves or is being handled, for instance when changing a nappy, which creates interference or may dislodge wires.
‘We have devised a system that looks at the monitoring data as a whole, as opposed to individually. This is more likely to indicate what causes the alarm to go off and if there is indeed a problem,’ said Professor Neil McIntosh, Professor of Child Life and Health at the University.
In use, the system works out an ‘X-factor’ which determines whether the changes are clinically significant or whether they are, for instance, simply a result of a probe being dislodged.
The system was devised by Professor Chris Williams and his postgraduate student John Quinn in the University of Edinburgh’s School of Informatics in conjunction with Professor McIntosh.