Purpose of review: Telehealth in neonatology is a rapidly expanding modality for providing care to neonatal patient populations. In this review, we describe the most recent published innovations in neonatal telehealth, spanning the neonatal ICU (NICU), community/rural hospitals and the patient’s home.
Recent findings: Telemedicine for neonatal subspecialty care has continued to expand, from well established uses in retinopathy of prematurity screening and tele-echocardiography, to applications in genetics and neurology. Within the NICU itself, neonatologist-led remote rounding has been shown to be a feasible method of increasing access to expert care for neonates in rural hospitals. Telehealth has improved parental and caregiver education, eased the NICU-to-home transition experience and expanded access to lactation services for rural mothers. Telemedicine-assisted neonatal resuscitation has improved the quality of resuscitation and reduced unnecessary neonatal transports to higher levels of care. Finally, the global COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the expansion of neonatal telehealth.
Summary: Telehealth provides increased access to expert neonatal care and improves patient outcomes, while reducing the cost of care for neonates in diverse settings. Continued high-quality investigation of the impacts of telehealth on patient outcomes and healthcare systems is critical to the continued development of neonatal telemedicine best practices.