If you’re expecting a baby, there’s a new addition to the labor and delivery unit at Avera’s Labor and Delivery unit that could make your experience even easier and safer.

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A software system, added in July 2018, provides nurses with critical information when and where they need it. That, in turn, is giving mom and baby peace of mind.

‘PeriWatch’ by company PeriGen is considered an innovator of perinatal early warning systems. Avera Health started implementing it over the summer and so far, three hospitals are using it.

“It’s an advanced fetal-monitoring system. When mamas come in in labor, we have two patients, with the baby being as important as the mom, this gives us some advanced ways to collect data on how baby and mom are tolerating the labor,” Avera OB/GYN Dr. Kimberlee McKay said.

Avera OB/GYN Dr. Kimberlee McKay says, in medicine, it’s really important that everyone speak the same language and be on the same page.

“This gives physicians some additional data points, nurses some additional data points to make good decisions for moms,” Dr. McKay said. It has some alerting mechanisms on it that if the computer system is seeing a patient where mom’s blood pressure or respiratory rate is low, it’ll alert us to that. Labor and delivery is a really busy place so this vigilance that you need to take care of moms, sometimes you get distracted and tend to another patient, this will pull you back to that patient and alert you to it.”

What used to be a long strip of paper is now entirely electronic.

“Now, they exist in these little 6-10 minute segments. To go into a strip and see how the whole clinical picture fits together it’s very difficult to navigate that in an electronic medical record. This makes that process extremely easy to get all the pieces of data that you need to make a good decision very quickly,’ Dr. McKay said.

Labor and Delivery Registered Nurse Jenny Frey says this software makes her job a lot easier.

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“We can see the monitoring in any room, outside the room, it helps us keep better track of our moms for the safety of our patients to watch them closely,” Registered Nurse Jenny Frey said.

She has the ability to document anything and everything, electronically.

“It’s in our nurses station, out front, in every patient’s room,” Frey said. “The screen shows baby’s heart rate, it shows the contractions, also shows the mom’s heart rate. You can go in and view, see what’s going on, as the patient progresses.”

“At times, if you have to step out of the room for a second, we’ll say ‘we’re watching you at all times’. Sometimes, moms and dads like to have their own time together. If we have to step out, we can see them and it gives them ease we’re always watching them,” Frey said.

They say PeriWatch is a game-changer, improving the standard of care for mom and for baby.

“What we know about this program from systems that have used it has actually been able to lower their c-section rate a little bit and had a decreased admission to the NICU for babies you wouldn’t otherwise expect, which is what we want,” Dr McKay said.

Avera Health plans to implement PeriGen’s PeriWatch software into its entire system of Labor and Delivery units which includes 15 hospitals. Dr. McKay says it’s another example of Avera offering moms and babies the same, great standard of care wherever they are.

For more information, call 1-877-AT-AVERA.

Produced by KSFY.