vCreate technology pilot bolsters neonatal follow-up care

This article was published in the APCP Newsletter in March 2021

vCreate technology pilot bolsters neonatal follow-up care

Suzanne Offer, Paediatric Physiotherapist at NHS Highland

vCreate Neuro is an NHS-trusted video service offering a secure digital pathway for families to send smartphone-recorded videos of their infant or child to their clinical team. 

Since August 2020, our neonatal team has been lucky enough to work with vCreate in a Scotland-wide pilot project to co-develop the platform’s interface to meet the needs of a neonatal follow-up service. 

When referred by a clinical team, parents and carers can upload smartphone-recorded videos of their infant during the optimum ‘fidgety window’ to vCreate Neuro. The clinical portal provides the ability to assign a classification to these video clips such as "normal" or "atypical development" in addition to specific assessment outcome categories such as those associated with Prechtl's assessment of general movement. Clinicians can fully document their analysis of the video clips in free text which can be exported directly to the electronic patient record.  

With the initial suspension of face-to-face to appointments and the introduction of virtual consultations, vCreate Neuro has provided our neonatal follow-up team with a simple, easy-to-use solution that allows us to maintain our pre-COVID standard of care in relation to the "fidgety movement" assessment typically performed between 3 and 5months corrected gestational age. 

We quickly realised the potential benefits of vCreate went above and beyond a continuation of accurate screenings. The platform has proved invaluable when an infant or child is not in the optimal behavioural state during a clinic appointment, in the event of technical failure during a virtual consultation and when responding to concerns raised by parents or primary care services in between appointments. Outside of the direct clinical advantages to using vCreate, clinicians can securely share videos with clinicians at other centres for peer review making the system a valuable educational resource.

While the project is currently being formally evaluated, initial informal feedback has demonstrated that families find the system easy-to-use and feel comfortable with the familiar brand. Many parents will have used vCreate Neonatal, the service’s sister application, during the first part of their neonatal journey. 

Our team is very much enjoying this exciting opportunity to work with the vCreate team to explore how technology like this can support the delivery of neonatal follow up services to facilitate early recognition of atypical development, early intervention and to be able to provide support to families to the best of our ability.

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