NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — The childbirth teams at Northwest Health are now using an artificial intelligence-based maternal-fetal early warning system called PeriWatch Vigilance to enhance patient safety during labor and delivery.

According to a press release from the healthcare provider, the system “continuously monitors maternal vital signs, fetal heart rate, contractions and labor progression” to help clinicians quickly identify any concerning developments for faster intervention. Northwest Health delivers more than 3,000 babies each year.

Megan Bokina, director of women’s services at Siloam Springs Regional Hospital, indicates that this new technology is an important resource to support maternal and fetal health and safer deliveries.

“The PeriWatch system has increased patient safety by giving us an extra set of eyes,” says Bokina. “While most births happen without complications, there are some inherent risks in the delivery of a newborn. For example, this new technology alerts us sooner to subtle changes in vitals such as blood pressure and allows us to intervene quickly.”

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 use that information to develop protocols that further increase safety and may lead to better outcomes for mothers and babies.

In a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Arkansas ranks number one in the United States for maternal death rate, almost doubling the national average.

“By investing in this technology, Northwest Health is making labor and delivery safety for mothers and babies here in Northwest Arkansas a priority,” said Chris York, market chief executive officer. “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 moms and babies safe.”

Northwest Health provides maternity care at three locations across Northwest Arkansas: Northwest Medical Center – Bentonville, Siloam Springs Regional Hospital and Willow Creek Women’s Hospital in Johnson. To learn more about Northwest Health maternity services or to find a physician, visit NorthwestHealth.com or call (800) 734-2024.