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Title A Minicomputer-Based Perinatal/Neonatal Telecommunications Network
Author(s) James S. Bostick, MS; Henry S. Hsiao, PhD; and Edward E. Lawson, MD
Source Pediatrics, Vol. 71, No. 2, Pages 272-276
Publication Date February, 1983
Abstract A minicomputer-based telecommunications network has been developed to link all fo the state's nine tertiary neonatal intensive care units in order to provide information on availability of neonatal and maternal beds. The information is updated automatically on computer terminals located in each neonatal intensive care unit every two hours by a complete system poll (350 polls per month). This information has been found to be accurate 95% of the time. Through a computer simulation, this network is shown to provide a significant reduction (p < 0.0005) in the number of referral telephone calls, and thus the time, required to locate a bed within the state for obstetric or pediatric patients needing transfer. In addition, this network has provided a database to aid in local, regional, and statewide planning for perinatal facilities. A 6-month summary of the data indicated that for 16% of the system polls, less than two neonatal intensive care units could accept outside referrals, demonstrating frequent severe statewide restrictions for care of high-risk patients. The total operating budget for the most recent fiscal year was less than $25,000, which is far less than that of manual 24-hour central telephone operator systems providing similar services. This telecommunications network is a cost-effective answer to the common problem of limited regional perinatal resources.

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