SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — A first-of-its-kind telehealth service is enhancing the care given to babies at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit neurology program.

As part of the new Neuro NICU telehealth service, the neurologists at Primary Children’s Hospital can monitor babies in real-time and recommend treatments to be performed by caregivers at four level III neonatal intensive care units in Utah and one in Montana.

This service sets a new standard of care for babies with complex brain anomalies and injuries, or those at high risk of developing them.

The remote EEG technology in this Neuro NICU service allows pediatric neurologists to give babies the same continuous seizure monitoring that is provided to infants being cared for at Primary Children’s Hospital. It marks the first time such monitoring has been available in Utah, as part of Intermountain’s renowned telehealth services.

According to Betsy Ostrander, MD, a pediatric neurologist with U of U Health and Primary Children’s Hospital: “All the babies in the NICU at Primary Children’s come from other hospitals… The Neuro NICU telehealth service allows caregivers at other hospitals to quickly contact neurologists at Primary Children’s when they have questions about the infant’s well-being… It helps us quickly assess the patient’s needs, support the clinical team and patient family, and make a smoother transition if the patient needs to be transferred to Primary Children’s for additional care.”

Telehealth programs like this help to improve care at hospitals and keep costs down because they provide remote access to experts without them being physically on-site. Also, they can reduce the need for the costly and complicated transportation of patients.