Wave of the Future
Waveform readings have long been the standard method of tracking the health of babies and mothers during labor. Printed on paper strips, the readings must be stored for 20 years, according to law. Now, the FetaLink system takes waveform vitals data such as fetal heart rate, contractions, and the mother’s blood pressure and oxygen saturation and immediately enters them into the patient’s lifetime EMR. An abdominal belt worn by the mother captures the fetal data.
In addition to being more accurate and useful than the old paper strips, FetaLink offers a big-picture view of the patient’s health by inserting data and annotations directly into the EMR and nursing documentation. The information is available for remote monitoring at the nurses’ desk and by collaborating physicians outside the hospital. A central monitor at the nurses’ desk also provides audio and visual alerts if FetaLink detects any abnormalities or concerns. UAB currently has 56 of the fetal monitoring machines.