Twins born at Mater mothers’ private hospital in Rockhampton have been the first in Australia to benefit from a virtual care program now available for expecting families in Central Queensland.
The neonatal virtual care program provides patients, parents and clinicians 24/7 remote access to neonatologist support if resuscitation is required soon after birth.
General manager of Mater mothers’ hospitals Dr Michael Beckmann said the service enhances their existing maternity care services and extends more expertise to regional Queensland.
“Regional patients already have access to experienced and highly skilled clinicians at Mater mothers’ hospitals in Townsville, Rockhampton and Mackay,” Dr Beckmann said.
“This new technology enhances those services by enabling Mater’s network of regional hospitals to access the world-class expertise in our tertiary hospital in Brisbane.
“With the press of a button, neonatal nurses and neonatologists in Brisbane can be virtually in the room, supporting our clinicians and families wherever they are.
“It helps to ensure we’re delivering the best care possible for our smallest patients.”
The neonatal virtual care program was recently used during an urgent delivery of preterm twins at Mater private hospital Rockhampton.
Mother-to-be Kloe Lewis was 32 weeks pregnant when a routine ultrasound detected one of her babies had a slow heart rate.
“After our routine scan, I was sent to Mater, where it was decided to deliver the twins by emergency c-section, and then fly the girls to Brisbane for further treatment,” she said.
“It was amazing to have a bunch of doctors and nurses both in the room and virtually in Brisbane looking after our girls.
“A weight lifted off our shoulders knowing they were in the best hands.”
Director of Neonatology at Mater Dr Pita Birch was among the team in Brisbane virtually assessing Kloe and her twins.
“We identified and diagnosed a heart condition that affected the baby’s heart rate,” Dr Birch said.
“This allowed us to guide the team in Rockhampton and also to provide real-time clinical updates to the Queensland neonatal retrieval service prior to their arrival.
“I’m glad to report mother and babies are happy and healthy.”
The new technology aims to drive positive clinical outcomes for mothers and newborns in large regional cities across Queensland, starting with Mater mothers’ private hospitals in Rockhampton and Mackay.