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Functionality and acceptability of a novel non-invasive neonatal heart rate monitoring device: a qualitative study of healthcare professionals
  1. Oana Anton1,
  2. Ramon Fernandez1,2,
  3. Elizabeth Rendon-Morales3,
  4. Rodrigo Aviles-Espinosa3,
  5. Christina J Jones4,
  6. Heike Rabe1,2
  1. 1 Trevor Mann Baby Unit, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, Brighton, UK
  2. 2 Academic Department of Paediatrics, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Brighton, Brighton and Hove, UK
  3. 3 Robotics and Mechatronics Systems Research Center, School of Engineering and Informatics, University of Sussex, Brighton, Brighton and Hove, UK
  4. 4 Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Oana Anton, Department of Neonatology, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, Brighton BN25BE, UK; o.anton{at}


Background Detecting neonatal heart rate rapidly and accurately at birth is essential if resuscitation is required. The Neo-Sense prototype provides a quick, non-invasive method to measure neonatal heart rate at birth based on electric potential sensing technology. The study aimed to inform the prototype design process by exploring the required features and usability of this novel device among healthcare professionals.

Methods Face-to-face, semistructured interviews were conducted with healthcare professionals involved in the immediate care of babies at birth: paediatricians, midwives and neonatal nurses. Interviews were audio-recorded and subsequently transcribed verbatim. Two independent researchers coded and extracted the emerging categories and performed a thematic content analysis.

Results In total, 21 participants were interviewed, 7 from each professional group. Participants expressed a positive attitude towards the novel prototype. The three main themes extracted were anticipated limitations, advantages and suggestions for development and usage. Participants preferred a device that is easy to use and attach, one which is positioned in a mattress or pad, maintaining also the option of being mobile. Education was considered to have a key role in addressing staff anxiety. The ideal features most frequently mentioned were speed of assessment, reliability and accuracy.

Conclusions The study enabled a better understanding of the perceived barriers and facilitators to developing a new heart rate monitoring device. The development of a quick and accurate device would have immense implications for clinical practice and the potential to improve neonatal mortality and morbidity.

  • neonatology
  • diagnostics
  • monitoring
  • heart rate

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  • Contributors OA conceptualised the study, conducted the face-to-face interviews and transcribed verbatim. Data extraction and analysis were a collaborative effort. HR, RF and CJJ conceptualised the study, contributed to data analysis, reviewed and revised the manuscript. ER-M and RA-E provided technical advice, reviewed and revised the manuscript. All authors approved the final manuscript as submitted and agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work.

  • Funding The study was partially funded by the Rockinghorse Appeal and The Early Birth Association charities.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information. Data generated by our research can be made available upon publication of our article.