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Putting Babies First: A Profile of the Iowa State Hygienic Lab Challenge Award Project



  • The heel stick test seems so incredibly simple. Just make a tiny prick on a newborn’s heel, dab off the spots onto a special sampling paper, and send it off to the lab. Easy, right? Wrong. Though it seems simple, medical practitioners can face real difficulties in administering the heel stick test—whether in taking the blood samples, or storing them properly, or getting them to the lab on time—all of which can compromise the integrity of the blood spot specimens. This means test results can be inaccurate, which can lead not only to delays in treatment, but in serious cases, to death.

    Baby’s First Test is proud to partner with the University of Iowa State Hygienic Laboratory and the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, a 2012 Challenge Award recipient, to host ithe webinar, “Putting Babies First:  A Video Project to Discuss Blood-Spot Collection,” today.

    The State Hygienic Laboratory at the University of Iowa, after conducting a survey of and focus groups in several Iowa hospitals, found that healthcare practitioners were much more confident in their knowledge of and ability to conduct a heel stick test if they were provided with standardized training. However, many hospitals did not use standard training procedure, instead relying on existing staff members to train new practitioners.

    In response, the State Hygienic Lab created two videos, “Putting Babies First” and “And now, a word from the Baby.” The first video, “Putting Babies First,” was designed to function as a training video that discusses blood-spot collection and also addresses common questions from healthcare providers using the test.  The video was shared through social media, partner websites, and through medical conferences, and it has had a positive impact on newborn screening procedures in hospitals that have used the video.

    In today’s webinar, the University of Iowa State Hygienic Laboratory and the School of Journalism and Mass Communication will talk about its projects to increase accuracy of the heel stick test. Tune in today at 12 pm noon (EST) to learn more about the test, challenges healthcare providers face in administering the test, and what you as a parent should know about the test!

    Register for the webinar by clicking here.

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