A Chicago hospital is hoping to relieve the anxiety of parents of newborns placed in intensive care with a brand new app.
Parents who feel scared to leave their baby in Northwestern Medicine’s NICU alone to eat or sleep will now be able to get real-time updates on their child via the NICU-2-Home app.
Through the new technology, concerned parents will be able to view updates on their baby’s weight, breathing, medication, and even poop through their mobiles.
The app was developed by Doctor Craig Garfield using grant money from Friends of Prentice, an organization that offers financial support to advance the quality of care given to women and infants.
The test-phase at the Chicago hospital is running smoothly according to the hospital staff, with early results indicating parents are more confident in the care of the hospital and of leaving the unit.
Speaking to Fox 32, Doctor Garfield said: “I noticed that parents were sitting at the bedside, waiting for their babies to wake up.
“I thought, wow, if they’re sitting there wanting to be involved they could be reading and learning about what’s happening to their baby.”
The app also displays pictures and charts of the child’s progress to keep the family as updated as possible throughout the process.
Most parents don’t plan for their baby to end up in intensive care, so the app also aims to educate them on what to expect and the processes involved while on the unit.
Doctor Garfield added: “At the end of the day, what we really want is to give that baby to the parents and for them to be really comfortable taking that baby home.”
Fox reported on first-time parents Miracle and Reggie Montgomery, whose baby, Ashton, was born seven weeks early weighing under three pounds and was placed in intensive care.
Mrs. Montgomery said: “It was really one of the scariest days of my life because it was completely unexpected.
“Just learning how to be a new human, a little human being and trying to do all this on his own.”
The parents were only leaving the unit to sleep and returning first thing in the morning.
Mr. Montgomery said: “To have to leave at night was probably the most difficult thing and I think the “NICU-2-Home” app is what closed that gap for us.
“As long as (Ashton’s progress chart) was going up, we were in pretty good spirits.”
Miracle added that the new technology which allowed her to check updates on her son was helpful to check overnight so she knew exactly what questions to ask the following morning.
If the app continues to thrive, with the correct funding, it could spread across the country to be launched in intensive care units all around the US.
Northwestern Medicine is an integrated healthcare system that brings together over 4,400 physicians and researchers from award-winning healthcare facilities in Chicago to offer award-winning care to its patients.