Through Newborn Screening Ontario (NSO), every baby in the province is checked at birth for 29 medical conditions, such as cystic fibrosis, galactosemia, and sickle cell disease. Rare but treatable, these conditions affect approximately 150 of the 140,000 babies born in the province each year.
In rare instances, newborn screens may be overlooked during the flurry of activity immediately following birth. These missed screens are cause for concern, since time is of the essence to identify newborns who may appear healthy but actually require immediate treatment. With the advent of the BORN information system (BIS), however, babies who did not receive the newborn screen can be quickly identified and their parents offered this important test.
Launched in January 2012, the BIS enables collection of detailed information on every birth in Ontario, making the system one of the most comprehensive storehouses of maternal and child data in the world. Among many other functions, the BIS automatically cross-references each birth with Newborn Screening Ontario records to identify babies who have not been screened. This simple procedure helped identify nearly 500 potential missed screens within the first year of BIS operation. In each case, the system triggered an alert, immediately notifying the appropriate care providers and reducing the possibility that any newborn might suffer irreversible harm.