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Utah Hospital Helps Parents of Babies in NICUs Be More Involved

Right after I posted about the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center using FaceTime to connect moms to their babies in the NICU, I saw this article about an Intermountain hospital in Utah doing something similar.

Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, a hospital in Provo, Utah, has equipped all of the NICU beds with three cameras. These will give parents 24 hour access to a live video of their baby.

This hit home because, well, I live right across from the hospital this article talks about, and my son spent eight days there when he was just two weeks old. While we were allowed to be in his room with him the entire time, if he’d been in the NICU, this would have been wonderful to have. And, if we stay in Utah, and we had a baby who had to stay in the NICU, we may benefit from this. This is part of the redesign of the NICU department at UVRMC.

Stephen Minton, MD, is overseeing this project. He is a neonatologist at Intermountain Healthcare, and in an interview he emphasized the importance of communication with parents who have infants in the NICU. He has been at this particular NICU unit since 1979, cared for 26,000 babies, and in all that time never had a lawsuit filed against him. He said that this is not because he didn’t make mistakes, but because of how he interacts with the parents:

It’s really unusual in critical care medicine to go quite that long [without a lawsuit.] The reason is because I communicate with parents, and so they understand what you’re really trying to do. That’s really all what people want. They want to be involved, and they want to feel like they have a voice and that you care.

Minton believes that implementing these cameras will allow the parents to be involved even more, and have a better understanding of the care their infant is receiving.  They can see what is being done at all times, and communicate with the attending physician.

UVRMC isn’t the first hospital to implement this type of technology, but it is definitely one of the first. I hope to see more hospitals doing something like this in the future, and perhaps extend it to other areas in the hospital.

May 6, 2013 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

BabyTime Connects Moms to Babies in NICU

Nothing pulls at my heart strings more than stories of babies in the NICU. And this story did just that.

At Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, mothers who aren’t able to see their babies who were whisked away to the NICU can now see them a little bit sooner. The hospital is using FaceTime, the free, video chat app that iPads, iPhones, and iPod touches have, to connect new moms to their sweet little ones. A lot of the time, these mother’s aren’t able to go and be with their baby’s in the NICU for awhile, or even the baby is sick enough, they have to be held in isolation. On the flipside, sometimes a mother may be too weak or ill after delivery to be with her baby. Using this simple app helps make this hard situation a little easier.

The hospital calls this “BabyTime,” and it has been used with a small group of moms who delivered via C-section, though they have plans to have mothers who had a traditional delivery. In the article, Yvonne Kidder, a nurse at Cedars-Sinai, said that sometimes it can take between 2 and 3 days before a mom can see her baby, and that they want to “cut that down to 2-3 hours.” The hospital now has guidelines that allow for new moms to have access to BabyTime at least once time during a nursing shift, which lasts 12 hours.

My son was healthy when he was born, and I was able to see him about 10 minutes after birth. I can’t even imagine how hard it would be to have had him taken away to the NICU, and not been able to see him for who knows how long. I think it’s wonderful that this hospital is seeing the benefit of using technology to connect moms with their NICU babies, and I hope other hospitals will follow suit. Babies can recognize their mother’s voice right out of the womb, and I imagine that hearing the voice of their mother while in a vulnerable state has got to help in some way!

Another thing I love about this is that it shows that mHealth doesn’t have to be complicated. Sure, there is a lot of mHealth apps and technology out there, and some of it is not-so-user friendly. But I love seeing existing mobile technology, that most know how to use, being used in new and innovative ways.

April 15, 2013 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

Chandler Regional Creates App For Premature Baby Parents

While my son fortunately didn’t have to spend anytime in the NICU when he was born, 10-15 percent of babies aren’t so lucky. Chandler Regional Hospital recently released an incredible app to help parents of pre-mature babies. Seriously, it’s pretty cool.  I started out including this in my recent post about apps for parents, but I felt like it needed a better review.

Guide for New Parents was developed mainly for NICU parents, but any parent can find use in it. Portions of it are aimed specifically at people who have children in the NICU at Chandler Regional Hospital. This portion has tours of the NICU and other educational videos.

There are five other main sections, which can be used by any new parent. Here’s a little bit of information on each of them.

Track My Baby

There are a lot of apps and websites out there to help track development, but this one is unique in the sense that you can follow development according to an infant’s gestational age. Premature infants reach milestones according to an adjusted age, not necessarily their actual age.  Weight, length, and head circumference can be tracked, and they are plotted on a graph next to percentiles. It also provides ideas for parents on a variety of topics, such as bonding.

I like that you can plot growth information and see it compared to percentiles. This could be really helpful in tracking an infant’s growth from home and identifying any abnormalities, because sometime a doctor may overlook something, or if another doctor needs to see information. My son had rapid head growth early in life, and recently we were referred to a pediatric neurologist. Because this doctor and my son’s pediatrician didn’t have the same system, he was unable to pull up any information, even though he said it would have been nice to be able to see the graphs. Having something like this would have been helpful at that time.

Feeding My Baby

One concern I hear over and over again from new parent is, is my baby eating enough? And honestly, it can be hard to know, if you don’t know what signs to look for. This section contains tons of information on feeding, focusing mostly on breastfeeding, and providing links to information about it. It talks about common challenges that arise, but also has information on formula feeding, for parents who choose that route.

There is a neat log to help track feedings. It includes a timer that a parent can start when a feeding begins, and end at the conclusion. The information automatically gets added in to the log. I remember at the first few doctor’s appointments of my son’s life, I was always being asked “how much has he eaten, how often, and for how long,” and in my sleep deprived state…I never could tell them. It also would have been helpful when I had to keep careful track of how long and often my son was eating when he was in the hospital. It would have been way easier than having to look at the clock and then write on a white board the numbers (which was so hard in the middle of the night!)

Spiritual Care

Now, I know not everyone is religious, so this may not be relevant for some. I’ve really never seen a feature like this before, and being a religious person myself, I appreciated it being included. However, as I’ve read reviews about it, it wasn’t the most helpful place. It mainly just included quotes and inspirational thoughts, that aren’t necessarily tailored toward a parent’s situation. I think this could be improved by having different sections of quotes, letting parents select what type of belief system they come from, and have thoughts tailored toward that, and even having the option for just uplifting, not necessarily religious messages.

Follow-up Care and Find my Hospital

These last two sections will really just be helpful for people being treated at Chandler Regional. The follow-up care lets parents search for doctors in the area who may be of use to them, and the find my hospital section just gives basic information about the hospital.

Overall, I think this is a really cool app, especially for those who had a premature infant. There are a lot of features that I really like, but also room for improvement. Some of the complaints I”ve seen is that there really aren’t a lot of videos, and it doesn’t have a section about problem that might arise with a child, and how to resolve them. I think that would be a particularly important thing, especially for parent’s of premature infants, where health problems are probably more likely to arise.

This app is free, and available for iOS devices.

November 8, 2012 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.