About the Norwegian Neonatal Healthcare Atlas

About the Norwegian Neonatal Healthcare Atlas

The Norwegian Neonatal Healthcare Atlas covers all neonates who were admitted to units for sick neonates in the period from 2009 to 2014. The Norwegian Neonatal Network (NNK) was the source of data for this healthcare atlas.

A total of 34,738 infants were admitted to units for sick neonates during the period in question. The healthcare atlas looks at admissions in general, admissions with infections and antibiotic treatment, admissions with ventilator treatment, admissions with treatment for hypoglycaemia and phototherapy, and use of intensive care. The atlas divides the infants into categories depending on how premature they are.

The Norwegian Neonatal Healthcare Atlas shows geographical differences, some of them considerable, in the use of neonatal health services. In summary, there is unwarranted variation in all the areas examined. The extent of such differences partly depends on how premature a child is, but there seems to be general variation across the whole range. The exception is admissions of infants born before 34 weeks, where, as expected, there is little variation.

Variation is so great that it gives reason to question whether the provision of health services for sick neonates is equitable and whether this variation affects quality and patient safety.