NeoTree Project

The NeoTree Project is a University College London Project funded by the Wellcome Trust: Digital Innovation Award for 2 years (October 2021). Using a low cost tablet based digital health application, the NeoTree aims to improve newborn care in healthcare facilities in low resource settings. It is currently deployed in 3 sites; 2 in Zimbabwe and 1 in Malawi.

The NeoTree is for newborn healthcare workers (HCWs) of all cadres to admit & discharge newborns using digital forms on a tablet based application. The digital forms have inbuilt decision support & education according to evidence based guidelines (WHO, COIN etc.). The NeoTree app was deployed at Ethel Mutharika Nursery ward, Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) in April 2019, it has replaced the paper admission and discharge forms and helps HCWs with their care of neonates in the nursery.

neotree project
Nurse using the tablet based NeoTree app to admit a newborn baby

Data Dashboard prototypes have been developed to give 3 outputs that help the HCWs in decision making and understanding the quality and gaps in care – these are being developed to update in real-time and display; mortality & morbidity data, a summary statistics dashboard, and a behaviour change dashboard.

neotree project dashboard
Nurses in KCH discuss the NeoTree data dashboard and newborn care

All HCWs at KCH are motivated and enthusiastic, achieving a drop in patient hypothermia of approximately 30% – 40% after using NeoTree data to identify areas for quality of care improvement. The team hopes to affect further positive change as the NeoTree project develops.

NeoTree data will be integrated with national health databases to form part of the electronic medical record and will allow governments and non-governments to improve data capture, quality and understanding of neonatal health data at a national level.