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Assessing innovation which could improve cannulation in newborn babies

Overview summary

Staff on the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH) have developed an innovation to improve the care of infants who need cannulation. 

The low-cost intervention uses a sterile sponge to provide a softer surface which helps increase comfort, improve positioning and potentially reduces movement which can increase the risk of infection and other complications in cannulation. 

The Oxford AHSN carried out a barrier to adoption study, speaking to key stakeholders to explore the potential utility of the proposed new method of neonatal cannulation in NICUs. As a result of this work the Trust is gathering real world evidence ahead of potential spread and adoption.

What did we do?

The Oxford AHSN performed a barrier to adoption study to get the views of neonatal clinicians on the innovation. This innovation involves the use of a sterile sponge to be used as a sleeve over the light to provide a softer surface during neonatal cannulation to help make it more comfortable for the infant and prevent the limb being stretched into awkward or painful positions.  

A literature review was performed to understand the need for improvement in the current methods for neonatal cannulation. We also formulated a semi-quantitative questionnaire, to allow the clinicians to share their views in an open but structured way. We also used several validated tools to measure the perceived usefulness of the innovation. The responses given in these interviews will allow the NICU team at OUH to work around any potential new barriers to adoption. 

What has been achieved?

The Oxford AHSN secured valuable insights from clinicians. The report highlighted a need to improve neonatal cannulation, particularly for junior doctors needing to make repeated attempts to complete it successfully. Over 70% of stakeholders said that this new technique could reduce the time needed for successful cannulation, leading to reduced stress for both baby and parent. There was broad agreement among the clinicians interviewed that this tool could also lead to cost savings relating to more efficient use of clinicians’ time and increased baby comfort, improved baby positioning during the procedure and could potentially help with a small subset of babies where cannulation requires numerous attempts for successful cannulation.  

Based on this feedback the trust is going to carry out an evaluation on the NICU. 

What people said

“I would like to thank Oxford AHSN and the team for all their hard work on the barriers to adoption report that she prepared for the neonatal cannulation project. This has been very useful, and directly fed into the design of the project currently underway to get some real-world evidence on the utility of the method to support further adoption and spread.” 

Dr Andrew Brent, Chief Medical Officer, Oxford University Hospitals 

What next?

The new cannulation technique is currently being evaluated in the NICU at the OUH for real world evidence to be obtained. This real world evidence will then support adoption and spread going forwards. 

Contact Lead Health Economist & Methodologist