£6m contract awarded for Ireland's newborn hearing screening service


GN Otometrics and Northgate Information Solutions rollout state-of-the-art diagnostics serice

Hearing test equipment manufacturer, GN Otometrics, will provide the technology for Ireland’s award-winning newborn hearing screening service as part of a €6m contract.

A Health Service Executive (HSE) managed tender process has resulted in Northgate Information Solutions (NIS) being given the contract. It will now work closely with GN Otometrics to roll out the service to 13 maternity hospitals following a successful pilot in the HSE South region.

Under the programme around 75,000 babies a year will be scanned within hours of birth, significantly improving detection rates from the traditional nine-month distraction tests.

The screening also identifies hearing impairment much earlier in a child’s development and in many cases improves the life experience of identified children.

Since its introduction at Cork University Maternity Hospital, the detection, diagnosis and intervention for hearing-impaired children has been reduced from more than 30 months to fewer than three months.

And, using state-of-the-art technology, the new screening service will be available to all newborn babies in Ireland by early 2013.

Alan Campbell, head of screening solutions at Northgate Information Solutions, said: “Delivering a life-changing public service is hugely rewarding. We are delighted this service is now being extended to cover the whole of the Republic of Ireland and hope this shows other healthcare organisations how the expertise within the HSE, coupled with the service innovation within the private sector, can be harnessed to support the changing face of healthcare delivery.”

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Technologies will include GN Otometrics’ MADSEN AccuScreen. The two-step (OAE/ABR) newborn hearing screener is fast, accurate and intuitive and has been found to dramatically improve ease-of-use and workflow.