BabyCam Now on All 44 NICU Children’s Hospital Beds; Technology Allows Parents to See Their Infants 24/7
Now every newborn in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Lehigh Valley Children's Hospital has the opportunity to become something of a media star. That’s because as of this week, every crib in the NICU is equipped with BabyCam, a web camera service that allows families and friends to see a hospitalized infant through an ongoing live video stream accessed via a secure website.
As long as you have been provided the proper BabyCam ID and password by the parents, you can see the baby on your computer or cellphone any time you’d like as long as the infant is in the NICU. Any number of viewers can access a BabyCam at one time.
“There are now cameras located at all 44 bed positions,” says Sharon Kromer, BSN, RN, clinical coordinator, telehealth services at Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN). “We’re in the process of enrolling all families who request the service.”
BabyCam was developed at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. It first came to Children’s Hospital at Lehigh Valley Hospital as a pilot project in 2012. Thanks to funding provided by the Dorothy Rider Pool Health Care Trust, the initial launch in February covered nine beds. In calendar year 2013, the nine BabyCams were in operation for a total of 18,043 minutes, or about 301 hours of viewing for 72 babies.
“BabyCam provides the families with peace of mind when they have to leave their babies in the hospital,” says Denise Keeler, director, clinical services, NICU. “It helps them to feel connected to their infants. They can each be part of the family by being on the screen at home or on a mobile device.”
Joseph Tracy, vice president, telehealth services at LVHN, says the expansion of the BabyCam program to all 44 NICU beds was made possible by private donations as well as other internal funding sources.