NHIMS implementation in Tairawhiti

Newborn hearing screener, Stephanie, using the new Beraphone equipment to test baby Jax’s hearing.
Newborn hearing screener, Stephanie, using the new Beraphone equipment to test baby Jax’s hearing.
Hauora Tairāwhiti is the first District Health Board (DHB) in the country to use the Newborn Hearing Information Management System (NHIMS) connected to the Beraphone screening equipment. NHIMS is a module of the Maternity Clinical Information System (MCIS).

The NHIMS system instantly creates an electronic record of the hearing screening results in the hospital’s system.

This process is more efficient and accurate than the current paper system, and also ensures parents and newborns receive prompt screening prior to discharge and early identification of hearing loss.

The new system has been in use since February 2016 and feedback from newborn hearing screeners is positive:

  • “It is apparent that the almost instant accessibility and transparency of data is a huge advantage of this new data system.”
  • “It is clear it is a great tool for keeping track of babies’ screening status.” 
  • “It will decrease the amount of time spent copying and filing hugely.”

Tairāwhiti Maternity Project Coordinator Judi Murphy led the project and provided training and ongoing support throughout the implementation. The screening team will now have significant input into future enhancements of NHIMS before and after going live around the country.

The introduction of universal newborn hearing screening has significantly improved the age of diagnosis of hearing loss in New Zealand. Before universal screening was in place the average age of diagnosis was 3 ½ to 4 years of age, whereas now most babies are diagnosed by three months of age. The early detection of hearing loss, and the application of appropriate medical and educational interventions, has been demonstrated to significantly improve the baby’s long-term language skills and cognitive abilities. 

In 2015, 121 babies were identified with permanent congenital hearing loss nationally through the programme.

Find out more about the Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Programme.

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Page last updated: 04 October 2016