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Pediatrix Data Mining Identifies Favorable Antibiotic Combination for At-Risk Infants; Neonatal Mortality Study Published in Pediatrics Journal

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 27, 2006--In a data mining study of neonatal outcomes that points to the potential of electronic health records (EHRs) to advance patient care, Pediatrix Medical Group researchers have identified a life-saving difference between two antibiotic combinations frequently used to fight infection in premature infants.

Researchers with Pediatrix, the nation's largest provider of neonatal and maternal-fetal care, mined the group practice's clinical database to compare the outcomes of more than 128,000 neonates treated with antibiotics over an eight-year period, 1996-2004. Their peer-reviewed study, "Empiric Use of Ampicillin and Cefotaxime, Compared With Ampicillin and Gentamicin, for Neonates at Risk for Sepsis," appears in January's Pediatrics journal.

In examining outcomes, the Pediatrix study found that premature babies who received the antibiotic combination of ampicillin and cefotaxime within three days of birth had a higher mortality rate, compared with those treated with ampicillin and gentamicin. Based on those results, Pediatrix strongly advises neonatal health professionals to avoid the ampicillin-cefotaxim combination and consider alternative antibiotic treatments.

"We are at the early stages of tapping the potential of our data mining model to advance neonatal care on a global basis," said Alan R. Spitzer, M.D., Senior Vice President, Director of the Pediatrix-Obstetrix Center for Research and Education and co-author of the study.

"Virtually all premature infants are exposed to antibiotics at least once, so the public health impact of epidemiologic research is profound," said Daniel Benjamin, Jr., M.D., MPH, Ph.D., associate professor, neonatal researcher and epidemiologist at Duke University's Department of Pediatrics Division of Infectious Diseases. "This study reinforces the notion that neonatologists should be using ampicillin-gentamicin as routine early therapy to treat neonatal infection."

Pediatrix launched its antibiotic study following a request from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to research the medications most commonly used in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) based on Pediatrix's outcomes database. That database - the largest in the world - incorporates outcomes from Pediatrix's integrated national practice network, which includes more than 375,000 patient records, representing five million patient days and 1.3 million medication records.

"From a broader perspective, the growing use of the electronic health record signals that medicine is now at an exciting threshold," Spitzer added. "We believe that more uniform data collection, made possible by the continuing shift to EHRs, can result in significant new discoveries by medical researchers throughout the world."

BabySteps (TM), Pediatrix's medical charting software, enables physicians to generate daily progress notes, which reflects patients' clinical progress, vital signs and weight. This level of detail is especially important for premature babies, where even minute measurements reflect the status of their health.

"Our database is a renewing source of research and quality improvement programs aimed at reducing the impact of premature birth," said Reese Clark, M.D. Pediatrix's Director for Research and Education. "The value of our database comes in sharing and comparing that data across the organization, which allows for benchmarking on a national level and collaboration with other healthcare providers to improve patient care."

Historically, the healthcare industry has relied on extracted, secondary data from financial claims or coding datasets. Pediatrix's database consists of primary data, meaning that the person entering data is also the person providing the care and monitoring the data daily, thereby reducing errors and enhancing clinical care.

"As a physician-driven record, the EHR will become the fundamental element in future patient outcome studies for many fields of medicine," said Spitzer. "Consistent patient information is essential for building accurate databases and finding meaningful diagnostic and treatment patterns."

Practicing in more than 220 neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) across the country, Pediatrix spent a decade building and maintaining its database, which captures detailed, privacy-protected information about babies' medications, mothers' histories, procedures, and lab and coding information.

Pediatrix shares all discoveries to improve clinical care with the medical community through peer-reviewed literature, its web-based Pediatrix University, national conferences and quality improvement collaborative efforts with academic centers and various healthcare organizations.

About Pediatrix

Pediatrix Medical Group, Inc. (NYSE:PDX) is the nation's leading provider of newborn, maternal-fetal and pediatric physician subspecialty services. Pediatrix physicians and advanced nurse practitioners are reshaping the delivery of maternal-fetal and newborn care by identifying best demonstrated processes and participating in clinical research to enhance patient outcomes and provide high-quality, cost-effective care. Founded in 1979, its neonatal physicians provide services at more than 220 NICUs, and through Obstetrix, its perinatal physicians provide services in many markets where Pediatrix's neonatal physicians practice. Combined, Pediatrix and its affiliated professional corporations employ more than 800 physicians in 32 states and Puerto Rico. Pediatrix is also the nation's largest provider of newborn hearing screens and newborn metabolic screening. Additional information is available at

CONTACT: Pediatrix Medical Group, Inc., Fort Lauderdale
Bob Kneeley, 954-384-0175, x-5300

SOURCE: Pediatrix Medical Group, Inc.