Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has introduced pioneering technology that means parents can remotely see their baby in the neonatal unit, wherever they are.
It believes it is the first hospital trust in the country to offer the state-of-the-art new feature for parents of babies in the neonatal unit at Bradford Royal Infirmary.
“This system takes away all that worry and anxiety of not being able to see your little one every day”
The new innovation – called BabyView – uses a remote video-link whereby a close-up and detailed image of baby in the neonatal unit can be beamed directly to parents wherever they are.
The technology is based on a simple video call, from a personal device, to a thin 24” high definition touch screen unit mounted onto a mobile cart that can be easily wheeled to the side of the cot.
Parents are able to see the baby on a PC screen, an iPad or tablet and on a smartphone by accessing the web address on their internet browser or by downloading an app.
The trust said that system was “revolutionary” for parents unable to be with their child at any time, for example because the mother was recovering on the ward or in another hospital, or in cases of multiple birth or where the parents had other children at home or were travelling a long distance.
Trust assistant chief nurse Shelley Bailey said: “This system takes away all that worry and anxiety of not being able to see your little one every day – because now it’s possible.
“It also means that when parents dial in, they can talk to the nurses on duty at the time – or the consultant if available – and get an update on baby’s condition,” she said. “It is much better than a phone call.”
Ms Bailey noted that she had personal experience of the difference that the video link could make having had twin boys five weeks early, who both needed to be taken to a neonatal unit.
Yorkshire trust unveils remote baby video link in UK first
“I was still on the ward, and all I had were two little Polaroid snaps,” she said. “I didn’t see my babies for three days and even then I had to rely on nursing staff to wheel me down to neonatal to see them.”
The link was the idea of consultant neonatologist Chakrapani Vasudevan and advanced neonatal nurse practitioner Carol Hudson.
They enlisted help from the trust’s IT and security teams, and IT company Cisco also provided support and worked very closely on the project.
The system has been funded by Bradford Hospital Children’s Charity and is trust-controlled and encrypted, making it secure. It has already received positive feedback from parents.
The trust runs the Bradford Royal Infirmary and St Luke’s Hospital, and also manages local community hospitals at Westwood Park, Westbourne Green, and Eccleshill.
Its maternity unit is one of the busiest, delivering more than 6,000 babies each year. It opened a new £2m neonatal unit in January 2015.