Objectives:

Our goal was to assess the impact of programmatic and coordinated use of transcutaneous bilirubinometry (TcB) on the incidence of severe neonatal hyperbilirubinemia and measures of laboratory, hospital, and nursing resource utilization.

Methods:

We compared the neonatal hyperbilirubinemia-related outcomes of 14 796 prospectively enrolled healthy infants ≥35 weeks gestation offered routine TcB measurements in both hospital and community settings by using locally validated nomograms relative to a historical cohort of 14 112 infants assessed by visual inspection alone.

Results:

There was a 54.9% reduction (odds ratio [OR]: 2.219 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.543–3.193]; P < .0001) in the incidence of severe total serum bilirubin values (≥342 µmol/L; ≥20 mg/dL) after implementation of routine TcB measurements. TcB implementation was associated with reductions in the overall incidence of total serum bilirubin draws (134.4 vs 103.6 draws per 1000 live births, OR: 1.332 [95% CI: 1.226–1.446]; P < .0001) and overall phototherapy rate (5.27% vs 4.30%, OR: 1.241 [95% CI: 1.122–1.374]; P < .0001), a reduced age at readmission for phototherapy (104.3 ± 52.1 vs 88.9 ± 70.5 hours, P < .005), and duration of phototherapy readmission (24.8 ± 13.6 vs 23.2 ± 9.8 hours, P < .05). There were earlier (P < .01) and more frequent contacts with public health nurses (1.33 vs 1.66, P < .01) after introduction of the TcB program.

Conclusions:

Integration of routine hospital and community TcB screening within a comprehensive public health nurse newborn follow-up program is associated with significant improvements in resource utilization and patient safety.

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