DEVELOPMENT AND OPERATION OF A REGIONAL INFANT DISPATCH CENTER (IDC)

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Abstract

With the establishment of regional perinatal programs an effective and rapid referral system for sick infants from primary to secondary and tertially centers is needed. In accordance with Chap. 1173 Statute of 1974 of the State of Calif, an IDC was established at our NICU to serve a region with 185 hospitals with maternity services and 24 neonatal special care units (12 tertiary and 12 intermediate). The purpose of this report is to delineate the process of development, operation and interpretation of data obtained by the IDC in 1976. Individual and joint planning sessions were held with all the directors of the region's NICU's and staff of IHU to develop procedures for referrals and a uniform infant transport form. Medical and transport capabilities of each center and relative distances between centers were determined. A telephone communicating system operated by trained dispatchers 24 hrs. a day provides updated information on bed availability in participating centers, and assists in obtaining consultations from a panel of NICU nurses and neonatologists. Data collected provide information on neonatal transfers; patterns, distances, frequency and type of infants transferred. After 10 months of operation the data indicate an increasing utilization of the center for transfers. Analysis of data will provide information to assist in future development of health resources in the regions served by the IDC.

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