Improving the Identification of Neonatal Encephalopathy: Utility of a Web-Based Video Tool

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This study tested the effectiveness of a video teaching tool in improving identification and classification of encephalopathy in infants.

Study Design

We developed an innovative video teaching tool to help clinicians improve their skills in interpreting the neonatal neurological examination for grading encephalopathy. Pediatric residents were shown 1-minute video clips demonstrating exam findings in normal neonates and neonates with various degrees of encephalopathy. Findings from five domains were demonstrated: spontaneous activity, level of alertness, posture/tone, reflexes, and autonomic responses. After each clip, subjects were asked to identify whether the exam finding was normal or consistent with mild, moderate, or severe abnormality. Subjects were then directed to a web-based teaching toolkit, containing a compilation of videos demonstrating normal and abnormal findings on the neonatal neurological examination. Immediately after training, subjects underwent posttesting, again identifying exam findings as normal, mild, moderate, or severe abnormality.


Residents improved in their overall ability to identify and classify neonatal encephalopathy after viewing the teaching tool. In particular, the identification of abnormal spontaneous activity, reflexes, and autonomic responses were most improved.


This pretest/posttest evaluation of an educational tool demonstrates that after viewing our toolkit, pediatric residents were able to improve their overall ability to detect neonatal encephalopathy.

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