A baby identification system that uses mobile technology has been launched in the UK.

British midwife Natasha Oglesby developed the Babywatch system in collaboration with Motorola Solutions, OCS and London-based CMO Global.

The system uses bar-coded wristbands to identify babies, track and monitor babies, which healthcare staff read using Motorola Solutions’ MC55 Healthcare PDA rugged device, which has an inbuilt barcode-scanner.

The system is compliant with GS1 standards, which the Department of Health has been encouraging the NHS to adopt.

The Babywatch application itself runs on Windows Mobile 6.5. Information can be sent to desktop computers, laptops and other portable devices over a wireless network.

The developers say the cost of the system is set at about £2 per bed per day.

Graeme Woodcock, head of the healthcare division of Motorola Solutions UK, said discussions are underway with a number of NHS trusts looking to pilot the scheme.

“We are planning for three paid pilot sites across the UK… the pilot will run for three months alongside normal operations to gauge improvement in safety and operational effectiveness.”

Woodcock said they intend to have reference sites by the end of the summer.

Motorola Solutions is also working to improve wireless systems in wards which have substandard coverage.

“We have found some wards that, although keen to have a solution to address safety elements of maternity, do not currently have wireless. Some that do have limited coverage.

“As part of the implementation we will assess and improve the wireless within these areas to optimise the application.”

Oglesby said as well as eliminating the possibility of human error, Babywatch provides hospitals with information required for auditing processes.

“Babywatch provides increased real time documentation with user ID. It provides an innovative solution that enables hospitals to monitor, evaluate and improve on its current procedures, systems and quality management.”