NICU programs provide a tailored service to monitor mom and baby safely.
Keeping families together improves outcomes for both the baby and the new mom, but infants also need close care and monitoring when they are born early or with certain conditions. Neonatal telehealth can allow parents to take their babies home while enabling medical providers to provide necessary oversight of the child’s care.
Using connected devices, parents can input necessary vital information, data about how much a newborn is eating, weight, and more. This virtual medicine offers parents a sense of normalcy while allowing new mothers to recover at home and bond with their babies.
Technological advancements make it possible for parents to care for their child using a smartphone or other readily available device that keeps medical teams informed and can alert them to risks or concerning changes in the baby.
Telehealth Therapy for Newborns
Telehealth is more than 60 years in the making, having started in the 1960s in response to NASA’s needs. And since that time, telehealth vendors and technological advancements have made remote medicine easier and opened lines of communication between patients and providers in a way we never imagined.
Although 60 years ago we couldn’t fathom providing remote care for newborns, telemedicine providers can now get all the information they need to provide outstanding care at a distance.
Newborn telehealth therapy uses the following information to guide medical providers in caring for infants.
- Daily vitals, including weight, feedings, pulseOX and temperature
- Digital communication, including text messaging, video conferencing, surveys, and educational materials
- Health trend reporting based on the last 7, 14, or even 30 days
- Virtual education for caregivers to feel comfortable and informed on caring for newborns with certain conditions or health risks
Parents can use their smartphones, tablets, or laptops to input information. And with a few at-home devices, such as the necessary tools to check a baby’s pulse and blood pressure, they can easily provide the same data nurses in a newborn intensive care unit (NICU) supply during regular rounds and checks.
If a provider sees something concerning, they can advise the parent to return to the NICU as soon as possible for a full assessment or schedule a video conference to visually observe the infant when needed.
Benefits of Neonatal Telehealth
Neonatal telemedicine is having a huge impact on families. It reduces the stress on the baby and improves the well-being of the entire family.
- Better outcomes: Engaging in telemedicine when discharging infants from the NICU leads to better outcomes for both parents and newborns. Mothers are less likely to experience postpartum depression and infants are less likely to be readmitted to the hospital.
- Reducing caregiver overwhelm: Parents leaving the NICU with their new baby can receive so much information that they get overwhelmed and forget some of the materials. By moving some of that education online for reference and continued learning once at home, parents have more time to absorb the materials and reference them again when they have questions. Providers can issue condition-specific educational materials for parents within the telehealth portal. Parents can learn at their pace to better absorb and retain the information.
- Reduction in 30-day readmissions: When using telehealth to continue care after an infant leaves the hospital, providers see a 44% reduction in readmission.
- Incredible return on investment: Virtual medicine for newborns has a 3:1 return on investment for providers.
- Increased patient satisfaction: Parents appreciate the opportunity to enjoy their baby’s first days, weeks, and months at home with some sense of normalcy. When engaging in neonatal telehealth, patient satisfaction increases 70 percent.
- Reduction in costs for providers and health systems: By moving care to a virtual platform, providers and health systems lower costs in caring for at-risk newborns while still ensuring babies and caregivers get the support they need to thrive.