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.