Some intriguing promotional materials arrived this week for a device called LaborPro, which combines global positioning technology (GPS) with ultrasound to help childbirth care providers, er, better pinpoint the baby’s global position (?) and how much the woman’s cervix has dilated. (Is there a pleasant-sounding female voice directing the baby, “At the pelvic outlet, go straight, then twist right”?? Or does the GPS talk to the doctor?)
I asked around to see if any hospitals had been seduced into purchasing this latest high-tech (and likely inferior, if history is any guide) substitute for skilled hands and brains, and so far haven’t found one. But I did learn that the device was unveiled at this year’s ACOG conference, and the manufacturer’s web site notes that, “LaborPro automatically displays and stores all labor progression parameters, as well as FHR [fetal heart rate] and uterine contractions. This data can be used as a decision support tool, and is also archived for offline review.” In plain English, this means that the data can be used in court, which means this labor Garmin is poised to be yet another agent of defensive medicine.