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North Knoxville Medical Center using advanced technology make childbirth and labor safer

The PeriWatch Vigilance System allows doctors to intervene faster if something goes wrong.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Laura Franklin, the chief of nursing at the North Knoxville Medical Center, said that mothers giving birth at Tennova Healthcare facilities now have an extra set of eyes monitoring any problems during labor. It is called the Periwatch system. 

"If you've ever seen an EKG hooked up to someone, it's similar to that,” said Franklin. "It assesses the strength and force of the contractions during labor and it also is monitoring the fetal heart rates".

The PeriWatch Vigilance System also allows doctors to intervene faster if something goes wrong. Studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that roughly half of all maternal deaths, fatal brain injuries, and cerebral palsies are preventable if doctors respond quickly.

Data from the Tennessee Department of Health shows the infant mortality rate is around 6.2% in Tennessee — a bit higher than the national average of 5.8%.

Franklin said that with the new technology, they hope to reduce that statistic. 

Through pattern recognition, the technology can also pinpoint opportunities for overall improvement based on consolidated data from multiple births. As the maternity team reviews trends and identifies areas where improvement is possible, the hospital can develop protocols that further increase safety and may lead to better outcomes for mothers and babies. 

“By investing in this technology, Tennova Healthcare-North Knoxville Medical Center is making labor and delivery safer for mothers and babies,” said Colin McRae, the CEO of Tennova Healthcare-North Knoxville Medical Center. “Our physicians and nurses are highly skilled medical professionals and excellent caregivers and they appreciate the use of technology to support their work, especially when it helps keep our patients safe.”

The team at the facility also received the Daisy Team award for exceptional prenatal, delivery and postpartum care. Additionally, the birthing suites at Tennova Healthcare-North Knoxville Medical Center feature a treatment model that keeps mother and child together from admission to discharge. They also have larger rooms to accommodate larger family support networks.

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