Parents in Scotland could in future be been able to stay connected with their babies while they are in neonatal intensive care units through a secure camera link, the Scottish government has announced.
New wireless video technology, called BabySam, is being piloted in NHS Fife.
It consists of a wireless camera installed near the baby’s cot, which transmits live video to the parent’s room or at any remote location.
However, the nurses and doctors overseeing the unit will have full control over what images are transmitted.
Researchers will investigate whether the technology improves bonding and breast feeding, and reduces anxiety for premature babies separated from their mothers.
Dr Sean Ainsworth, a consultant paediatrician and neonatologist at NHS Fife, said: “We hope that BabySam will help overcome any sense of geographical isolation by allowing mothers to see real-time images of their babies, providing reassurance to parents and improving the bonding between the mother and her baby even when they cannot physically be together.”
Scottish health secretary Alex Neil said: “Having a baby in an intensive care unit can be an extremely stressful and worrying time for any new parent.
“Through this innovative new technology parents will be able to view their baby and feel connected to them while they receive the vital treatment they need to get better.”
The scheme is the result of a partnership former earlier this year between Samsung, Scotland’s newly formed Digital Health Institute and NHS Scotland to work on mobile healthcare technology.
It is the first project to be prototyped and evaluated under the institute’s “digital health factory” scheme, which is intended to speed up the process of introducing new technology in the NHS.
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