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Title Use of Computers in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit
Author(s) Daniel Lindstrom, PhD, and Robert Cotton, MD
Source Clinics in Perinatology, Vol. 10, No. 1, Pages 195-203
Publication Date February 1983
Abstract Computers are playing an increasingly important role in the care of critically ill infants. A few years ago, an NICU patient monitoring computer would probably be a large cabinet or two filled with electronic equipment easily identifiable as a minicomputer. Such a system probably would have existed only at a large university hospital and would have been funded as a research project. The microelectronics revolution has reduced computer circuitry in both size and cost so that a complete computer can now be incorporated inside a small heart rate monitor, for example. Current trends are toward decentralization of computing power and embedding specially programmed microprocessors within each instrument. The trickle of computer-assisted monitoring equipment appearing in the 1970s is now becoming a flood as new computer applications are developed and marketed. In addition to processing and displaying data from a variety of physiologic transducers, computers can help collect, store and utilize much of the discrete data that are generated during an infant's stay in an NICU. Computer systems will have to be thoroughly understood and critically evaluated to determine not only how well they carry out their assigned functions, but also whether they actually benefit the patient or health care system.


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