Secondary Care

Medway Maternity and the Perinatal Institute

System C is integrating the Perinatal Institute’s customised growth charts with its maternity software in support of a national drive to halve stillbirths by 2030.

testThe use of customised growth charts is one of a handful of key interventions required in the official ‘Saving Babies’ Lives’ guidance published this Spring.

The PI’s multi-award winning GROW charts, which measure a baby’s growth in the womb, are widely used in the maternity world, with 122 NHS Trusts subscribing to the PI’s Growth Assessment Protocol (GAP). At present, midwives create and download customised charts, and then manually plot growth themselves using pen and paper.

The new System C and PI contract means the charts will now be available to all Medway Maternity users signed up to the GAPplus programme as an integral part of the specialist maternity software. Medway Maternity is currently used by 21 NHS Trusts, in 11 instances as a standalone maternity system and in 10 others as part of a hospital-wide Medway EPR.

This integration will bring significant benefits in terms of clinical safety and also efficiency, reducing duplicate processes.

“Restricted fetal growth is now widely understood to be a significant cause of stillbirth and low birth weight babies. Early recognition of restricted growth will alert the midwives and obstetric team and lead to early intervention,” said Louise Caney, System C product manager for Medway Maternity.

In addition, having the fundal height and fetal weights automatically plotted on the charts by the PI reduces the chance of human error.

As a result of the integration, the customised chart will be created within Medway Maternity, using information already entered as part of the patient record. It will use the mother’s personal characteristics (height, weight and so on) to plot growth rate against customised centiles.

Community and hospital midwives will be able to enter specific information about the woman and the fetus directly into the software at antenatal appointments. It will automatically generate a customised growth chart image back into the maternity system where it will be available to all authorised professionals involved in the mother’s care.

“There are also significant benefits in terms of audit trails. Each Trust will be able to see how many of their babies are growth restricted and how frequently the growth restrictions are being detected antenatally,” Ms Caney added.

Mandy Williams, PI’s programme manager for health informatics, welcomed this development. “We are pleased to be working with System C on integrating the customised charts into patient’s wider clinical record. This is an essential step that helps midwives and doctors to follow best practice and will help ensure high quality, safe maternity care,” she said.

The integrated growth charts will be available to Medway Maternity users towards the end of this year.

System C’s specialist maternity solution provides a complete electronic record of a woman’s obstetric journey from early pregnancy to post-natal care and discharge. It can be provided as a standalone system, or integrated with a whole-hospital electronic patient record (EPR) system, including Medway EPR.

Unlike many maternity systems, Medway Maternity is available off-line to community midwives, allowing them to update a woman’s electronic record at the point of care in the community.

It also provides Business Intelligence tools for automated reporting to meet statutory, national and local requirements and for measuring outcomes.