With sonograms, genetic tests and other diagnostic technology standing by to examine babies in utero, developmental abnormalities are often detected early in the gestation process.
But an advanced diagnosis does little to enhance the course of treatment after birth if the findings fail to make their way from the mother’s medical record to the specialists who take on the baby’s care immediately after delivery.
“We’ve been approaching the information in charts as protected information, to the extent that when a baby is born, we separated records of the mom from the baby,” said Wael Alrifai, MD, an assistant professor of pediatrics and biomedical informatics at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.
“The biggest issues occur when the mom presents in labor at 2 a.m. without warning; it’s not always clear the baby has a specific condition that needs to be addressed immediately at birth” he added. “Some can have big problems including a risk of death if not acted on promptly, so it is important that the plan made before birth is carried over after birth.”