The Commonwealth of Virginia is piloting an electronic data exchange project to automate submission of newborn screening information to the state government.
The Virginia Newborn Screening (NewSTEPs 360) Electronic Data Exchange Project, in partnership with vendor OZ Systems, currently includes three hospital nurseries: University of Virginia Medical Center, Central Virginia Baptist Hospital and Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center.
OZ’s Newborn Admission Notification Information (NANI) and OZ Newborn Bloodspot Screening (NBS) Telepathy are two key newborn screening information technology tools being utilized for the project, which is part of a larger multi-state, federally-funded project awarded in 2016 focusing on timeliness and quality in newborn screening.
Here is how it works: First, OZ and Virginia worked to automate an electronic order form based on the specimen card and newborn data requirements that assures that information transmitted is accurately received by the state. The electronic order is printed as a label for the bloodspot card. This eliminates the current handwritten information on the card, ensuring all the necessary data arrives at the lab as quickly as possible. The form will also is sent simultaneously as an electronic lab order to the state. This provides dual verification when the blood is received in the state lab. The electronic newborn screening order facilitates timely reporting because it reduces rekeying of information, while hospitals eliminate unnecessary steps in specimen collection.
In an Indiana hospital where the system was implemented, OZ claimed, the number of steps needed to complete newborn blood spot screening was reduced by more than 70 percent. OZ also said it is working to electronically transfer newborn results from state labs back to hospitals, eliminating mail and fax reporting for all newborns, especially those affected by the core conditions that are tested for using the blood spot sample.
Statewide rollout to the remaining 51 Virginia hospitals is anticipated following the NewSTEPs 360 pilot project. Results of the pilot will be shared with other Virginia hospitals and states working on the newborn screening timeliness project.
“Virginia’s Newborn Screening Program saves lives by detecting rare but potentially deadly disorders within days of birth, and any steps we can take to streamline that process will have a lasting impact,” said Wanda “Willie” Andrews, director of laboratory operations at the Virginia Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services, in a prepared statement.