• Benchmarking care for very low birthweight infants in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

      Murphy, B P; Armstrong, K; Ryan, C A; Jenkins, J G; Department of Neonatology, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Wilton, Cork,, Ireland. brendanpaul.murphy@hse.ie (2012-01-31)
      BACKGROUND: Benchmarking is that process through which best practice is identified and continuous quality improvement pursued through comparison and sharing. The Vermont Oxford Neonatal Network (VON) is the largest international external reference centre for very low birth weight (VLBW) infants. This report from 2004-7 compares survival and morbidity throughout Ireland and benchmarks these results against VON. METHODS: A standardised VON database for VLBW infants was created in 14 participating centres across Ireland and Northern Ireland. RESULTS: Data on 716 babies were submitted in 2004, increasing to 796 babies in 2007, with centres caring for from 10 to 120 VLBW infants per year. In 2007, mortality rates in VLBW infants varied from 4% to 19%. Standardised mortality ratios indicate that the number of deaths observed was not significantly different from the number expected, based on the characteristics of infants treated. There was no difference in the incidence of severe intraventricular haemorrhage between all-Ireland and VON groups (5% vs 6%, respectively). All-Ireland rates for chronic lung disease (CLD; 15-21%) remained lower than rates seen in the VON group (24-28%). The rates of late onset nosocomial infection in the all-Ireland group (25-26%) remained double those in the VON group (12-13%). DISCUSSION: This is the first all-Ireland international benchmarking report in any medical specialty. Survival, severe intraventricular haemorrhage and CLD compare favourably with international standards, but rates of nosocomial infection in neonatal units are concerning. Benchmarking clinical outcomes is critical for quality improvement and informing decisions concerning neonatal intensive care service provision.
    • Introducing random safety audits (RSA) in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

      Szymanska, M; Ryan, C A; Murphy, B P; Cork University Maternity Hospital, Wilton, Cork. (2012-01-31)
      Random safety audits (RSA) have been shown to be effective in improving standards of clinical practice. 19 data collection audits were performed relating to hygiene, safe prescribing, oxygen pulse oximetry monitoring and documentation in keeping with the requirements of the new Medical Practitioners Act (MPA) 2007. Hygiene audits (range from 20/25 to 21/21 80%-100%) and safe prescribing audits (range from 23/25 to 25/25 86%-100%) achieved n=25 100% compliance with unit guidelines over a 3 month period. Compliance with oxygen pulse oximetry monitoring guideline limits improved from 4/27 (15%) to 9/16 (56%). Compliance with requirement and use of Physician IMC registration number in documentation was only 10/18 (56%). RSA's led to improvements in hygiene and prescribing. Compliance with oxygen monitoring guideline limits highlighted the need for greater education. Awareness of legal requirements relating to documentation improved but this has not translated into a change in practice. RSA's can facilitate real time quality improvement in daily clinical practice.
    • Palivizumab use in preterm neonates.

      Kingston, S; Murphy, B P; Department of Neonatology, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Wilton, Cork. (2012-01-31)
      Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the leading cause of bronchiolitis in infants. Palivizumab is an immunoprophylactic agent for RSV prevention in preterm infants and those with neonatal chronic lung disease. This study examines its use across neonatal units in Ireland. A questionnaire was administered to one Consultant Neonatologist or Paediatrician in each of the 20 maternity centres in Ireland about their guidelines for Palivizumab administration. There is variation in administration of Palivizumab with little consistency found between protocols reported in terms of age and presence of chronic lung disease. Ten centres have in house protocols, 3 centres use the American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) guidelines, 2 centres prefer the UK Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) guidelines and 3 centres do not have a set protocol. Four participants felt its use has impacted on hospital admissions and 61% believe its use is cost effective. The budgetary implication for immunoprophylaxis with Palivizumab in Ireland is estimated at 1.5 to 2 million euros annually. Given current pharmacoeconomic constraints there is a need to implement a national protocol on RSV immunoprophylaxis.