TECH BYTE: Hospital Cameras Help Newborns, Families Bond

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — Some hospitals are using tech to make it possible for families to connect with their newborn babies, even if they’re not there in person.

Parents are very protective of their children. Especially if they’re newborns in the NICU.

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That’s why Parkridge Health System has put in 22 NICView cameras, so parents can see their baby when they can’t be at the hospital.

“These cameras are cameras that parents can log in,” said NICU Director, Christina Chadwick. “They get a unique username and password when they first get here to the NICU, and they can give that out to whoever they want to, whoever they’re choosing across the United States, in another country. They can log in and live stream that baby. They can see that baby live, so if the baby’s crying, if the baby’s squirming, if the baby is just laying there with their eyes open, they can see that baby 24/7.”

Chadwick says the cameras are easy to use for both the babies’ relatives and nurses.



“Parents can call,” she said. “They’re given a 1-800 number when they get here. They can call for technical support, so if the camera needs to be moved or adjusted, they call the number. It gets moved through the system.”

Family members just need that special login and Internet access to take advantage of the cameras. They can watch from their phone, tablet or computer.

Chadwick says this technology really benefits friends and family members who are out of state, or a service member deployed overseas.

“Especially with some of our babies who stay for weeks or months, just to be able to watch them growing is invaluable,” Chadwick said.

The only time they put up a privacy screen, is if the doctor or nurse is assessing the baby.

“There’s a little screen that will pop up that will tell mom, ‘They’re doing my cares right now, please come back shortly.'”

There’s no audio, so you can’t speak to those watching, but the nurses can still leave a note.

“We had one family that, right after we went live with the cameras, they surprised their family with the baby coming home by putting a little note under the camera, had us turn it off for a bit, and everybody calling saying, ‘Why’s the camera not on?’ And when they turned the camera back on, they had put a little note, ‘I’m going home today,’ and that’s how they told their family that they were going home,” Chadwick said.

Families don’t have to take advantage of the cameras, but plenty of them do.

Chadwick believes we’ll continue to see this tech trend at more hospitals across the country.

NICUs want more parents to get involved.

“It’s just a way for them to be able to interact, and see what’s going on with their baby when they can’t be here,” Chadwick said. “I definitely see it as being something that’s going to be going into more facilities.”

Chadwick says other hospitals in the Nashville and Atlanta areas have gotten cameras like these, as well.