Creating Online NICU Networks to Educate, Consult & Team (Mississippi)

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Project CONNECT proposed to develop a viable, cost-effective mechanism for information sharing, decision-making, and professional collaboration to ensure that the benefits of early developmental care would be attained during the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) stay and maintained through developmental surveillance after discharge to care in rural communities. The original CONNECT partnership included The Institute for Disability Studies (IDS) at the University of Southern Mississippi, Forrest General Hospital, and Southern Mississippi Neonatology Group. Primary medical clinics in rural communities were also participants in CONNECT activities to assist in field testing strategies for rural primary care providers. Methods for completing the planning included the following: 1) use telemedicine technologies to enhance and expand the use of evidence-based developmental care practices in NICUs of Mississippi hospitals through training, technical assistance, and consultation among medical staff; 2) develop and maintain a searchable multimedia information database containing developmental surveillance information to meet multiple asynchronous training and information-sharing purposes; and 3) develop multimedia Personal Developmental/Health Records for infants at risk for neurodevelopmental problems in order to better document areas warranting close developmental surveillance and promote more effective information sharing among care providers. The planning phase of Project CONNECT resulted in significant progress toward peer-to-peer training and bedside consultation between Mississippi NICUs; a design for the developmental surveillance interactive information system to be housed on the hospital Web site; and pilot testing of a prototype for a multimedia portable Personal Developmental/Health Record.

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