Last year we welcomed about 87,000 newborns to Arizona. Our Newborn Screening Program (in our State Lab) ensures that each are tested for 28 inherited disorders and hearing problems. The goal is to help kids avoid illness, developmental delays and even death. Teamwork, communication and coordination are critical in making this program effective. A quick look at the numbers reveals how monumental this screening task really is.
On any given day our newborn screening team receives and tests from 600 to 1,500 bloodspot samples for each of the 28 disorders. Our demographics team verifies the results and confirms all of the data associated with each sample as well as ensuring that lab results are sent out to the health care provider. Our case management team follows up on about 140 potentially positive results (including hearing) each week, coordinates the confirmation test and works with pediatricians, clinical specialists and families.
The end result? Because of the dedication and commitment of each member of the Team, hundreds of families have the opportunity for their newborn to receive the early treatment, intervention and support services that will allow them to lead normal lives. Of course, none of this would be possible without the gasoline that runs the engine, the billing department brings in the money that keeps this effective machine helping families every day.
The first state-mandated newborn screening programs began in Massachusetts, Oregon, and Delaware 50 years ago this week. Now, 97% of U.S. newborns are screened by state public health labs like ours. The Association of Public Health Laboratories is partnering with the CDC to launch a year-long public awareness campaign to celebrate this milestone. The campaign website includes a calendar of events and informational resources for expectant parents, healthcare providers, and health decision-makers.