UPMC Northwest Introduces Digital Footprint Technology to Keep Infants Safe

| July 12, 2019

SENECA, Pa. – UPMC Northwest has enhanced newborn safety with innovative technology that captures high-resolution digital scans of newborn footprints, which can be optimal for identifying an infant or young child in the event of natural disaster, or when a child is lost or abducted. UPMC Northwest is the first hospital in the region to adopt the new technology.

Shortly following birth, a digital scan of the infant’s footprint is entered into his or her electronic medical record, encrypted and stored in a secure database of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The database contains no information that identifies newborns other than birth data and a record number that can only be accessed by authorized parties if a child ever goes missing.

“The best feature of this new system is the peace of mind it gives our patients,” said Cheri Siverling, M.S.N., director, UPMC Northwest Family Birthing Center. “While we hope our parents never have to search for a missing child, there is great comfort in knowing that their child’s footprint can lead to the highest chance of reuniting with them.”

Since footprints are much like fingerprints, unique to each newborn, they can be used for identification throughout a lifetime. The new technology provides an image considerably clearer and more legible than traditional ink-on-paper footprint.

In addition to UPMC Northwest, the new technology has been launched at Magee-Womens Hospital in Pittsburgh, Magee-Womens, UPMC Hamot, and UPMC Horizon. UPMC Susquehanna, UPMC Altoona and UPMC Pinnacle will also be acquiring the new technology in the upcoming months.

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