New App Helps Parents Check on NICU Babies From Home During Coronavirus Pandemic

The app from Northwestern Medicine helps parents stay updated throughout the day, since visitation is extremely limited at this time.

Northwestern Medicine

Northwestern Medicine’s Prentice Women’s Hospital is helping families virtually visit newborn babies in the NICU during the coronavirus pandemic.

Currently, the hospital has extremely limited visitation to reduce the risk of contamination, especially for newborn babies. Only one parent can visit their newborn at a time.

But now, there’s a smartphone app that all NICU parents can use to check in on their babies from home. The app, called SMART NICU2HOME, sends updates throughout the day on their baby’s vital signs, as well as personalized information and education. It also reveals who is caring for their baby at any given point.

“They aren’t at the bedside, but they can still get that vital information every parent craves, and it helps fill the gap since family and friends used to be able to visit in person,” said Dr. Craig Garfield, professor of pediatrics and medical social sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Dr. Garfield began developing the app years ago, along with Young Seok Lee, an adjunct professor of medical sciences at Feinberg.

“These are unprecedented times,” said Lee. “The stress of the families was going to be really unparalleled, and we knew this app already worked from our research phase, so we are glad that we could share the benefits of this app with a larger community of NICU infants and their families.”

Parents can download the app by requesting an invitation from the hospital. They will be sent a secure code to download and connect information with their baby in the NICU.

For more information, you can visit the SMART NICU2HOME website.

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