LEHIGH VALLEY HOSPITAL
Families of the tiniest babies at Lehigh Valley Hospital are now able to view them in real time on their computer or smart phone through a webcam system developed by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. The new system was unveiled at a news conference Feb 5 at the hospital's Cedar Crest campus.
Jacelia Cruz and Samuel Colon, of Bethlehem, whose baby, Janiya, was born two months prematurely in mid-January, marvel at the technology.
"Without being able to see my baby at any time I want to, I think I'd have to live here to be close to her," Cruz said.
The new BabyCam was presented by Lehigh Valley Health Network's President and CEO Ronald Swinfard, M.D., in the neonatal intensive care unit at LVH-Cedar Crest. The technology uses UAMS Angel Eye™ software and equipment, and is being marketed by the Little Rock-based university's business incubator, UAMS BioVentures.
The BabyCam/Angel Eye™ system uses a camera placed at the baby's bedside while hospitalized for long periods so parents and other family members who can't be at the hospital can view the baby 24 hours a day. This system helps promote bonding between parents and their premature babies, who sometimes have to stay in the hospital for weeks or months.
Swinfard said the Lehigh Valley Health Network is the university's first partner working to extend this technology into communities outside Arkansas.
In 2002, UAMS established BioVentures and its Technology Licensing Office to facilitate the startup of new business enterprises, based on UAMS technology. The university is interested in translating its research endeavors such as Angel Eye™ technology into products that benefit human health.
"We're delighted to be able to provide this new service to families," Swinfard said. "Very few medical centers provide this service, and Lehigh Valley is the first outside Arkansas to offer the technology.
The Children's Hospital at Lehigh Valley Hospital, where the NICU is located, is the only children's hospital in the region to provide care in 28 specialties and general pediatrics.
"Babies in NICUs often have stays long enough that their parents must return to work or homes that aren't close or convenient to the hospital," Swinfard said.
"BabyCam enables them to check in on their infants and maintain contact from anywhere they can obtain an Internet connection. They won't have to wait to make a long drive or until they have time for an in-person visit to the NICU. It will bring them great peace of mind. We're happy to be able to give them that connection."
Parents are provided a password-protected link to the video feed so they can have a 24-hour connections to their newborns.