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Is telemedicine suitable for remotely supporting non-tertiary units in providing emergency care to unwell newborns?
  1. Gemma Edwards1,
  2. Joyce E O'Shea2
  1. 1 Neonatal Unit, Princess Royal Maternity Hospital, Glasgow, UK
  2. 2 Neonatal Unit, Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Gemma Edwards, Neonatal Unit, Princess Royal Maternity Hospital, Glasgow, UK; gemma.edwards6{at}


Although the majority of term infants will breathe spontaneously at birth, the requirement for advanced resuscitation can be unpredictable, as can the precipitous delivery of an extremely preterm infant in a non-tertiary neonatal unit. Infants born in hospitals without a tertiary neonatal intensive care unit have a higher mortality which is a disparity that has been difficult to resolve.

Telemedicine, the use of videoconferencing software to connect those at the scene of a resuscitation to a remote clinician, can allow for real-time two-way communication between a local unit and a tertiary neonatal specialist. It has been present for some time in neonatology to provide secure video messaging with families and its use in neonatal acute care and resuscitation has been growing in recent years.

We sought to perform a review of the current evidence available on the use of telemedicine in neonatal resuscitation. Studies demonstrate improved quality of resuscitation, improved adherence to resuscitation guidelines and positive experiences reported by local and tertiary teams. Suitable technology needs to be available to establish a rapid and secure video connection, as does adequate availability of experienced neonatologists to provide remote guidance. Telemedicine is an exciting and emerging tool which is being developed as a standard of care in units which have piloted it.

  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal
  • Technology
  • Resuscitation
  • Emergency Care
  • Neonatology

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request.

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.