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  • Local Hospital Has High-Tech Solution for Switched-at-Birth Fears

    It's called the "Digital Umbilical Cord," and it raises the bar for infant security.
    by Rachel Perez .
Local Hospital Has High-Tech Solution for Switched-at-Birth Fears
PHOTO BY De Los Santos Medical Center/Facebook
  • Pinoy teleseryes love the "switched at birth" plot twist, but it may have to come up with another story idea with this new technology that one hospital uses.

    De Los Santos Medical Center (DLSMC), a private hospital in Quezon City, recently posted a video on its Facebook page that introduces the Digital Umbilical Cord. It's an infant security system that ensures babies will go home with no one but their parents. 

    How does it work? Think regular hospital bands but high-tech!

    A digital umbilical cord uses "state-of-the-art" active radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. It is strapped to the infant's leg and a matching digital tag to the mother's wrist. Even the baby's bassinet gets one, so a nurse does not erroneously put a baby down on another baby’s cot. 

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    The device for the baby is light and made of soft, hypoallergenic material. It's also easy to use, with matching verification done wirelessly and automatically. Aside from security purposes, the high-tech tags also allow the hospital staff to monitor the baby digitally. 

    "These tags are already pre-paired, so there is no manual set up done by our nurses. This eliminates any human errors. When you bring the baby tag close to the mommy or bassinet tag, both tags automatically light up, and music plays when the tags match," Eriene C. Lao, DLSMC's chief information officer, told SmartParenting.com.ph via email. "If the tags do not match, a red light blinks, and an alarm sounds," she explained.

    According to Lao, "exciters" are installed at exit points or restricted areas, so every time the baby is carried and brought by unauthorized persons out of these zones -- say, the nursery -- the digital umbilical cord’s software gives off both visual and audio warnings.

    "In case someone tries to remove the tag from the baby, the software gives off an alert," she stressed. Before you and the baby are sent home from the hospital, the tags are put side by side to match and ensure that you're taking the right baby home (and making the "Mara Clara" plot twist obsolete).   

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    DLSCM unveiled this technology during its "Buntis Summit" held last May. (Our Facebook readers pointed out another hospital, The Medical City, uses a similar device.)  If you think the device isn't necessary since your newborn would be rooming in with you after birth, as the law dictates, Lao says the Digital Umbilical Cord has more uses beyond infant security.

    "The same technology can be used for patient temperature and location tracking, wireless vital signs monitoring, patient flow and bed management, asset tracking and management and staff contact tracing," she said. It’s safe to assume that this device raises the bar not just for patient security but also for improving the quality of care patients received. 

    The technology, dubbed as "The Tie that Binds Mommy and Baby" by DLSMC is already being used in maternity wards of leading Asia-Pacific hospitals. The hospital is set to include it in their standard maternity package offerings without any added cost.

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    For more information, visit DLSMC's website and Facebook page

    This story was updated on June 7, 2017. 

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