Long before the Covid-19 pandemic, Craig Garfield, MD, and Young Lee, PhD, at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, developed an app to solve a common problem in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU): Parents often can’t be at the hospital 24/7, yet they need to stay up to date on their baby’s care.
Merging electronic medical records with smartphone technology, the NICU2Home app, which debuted in 2019, gives families at Northwestern’s Prentice Women’s Hospital real-time updates on their infant’s weight, vitals, and any complications they’re experiencing.
“It allows them to track various milestones that preemies have along the way, which physicians say are important for the baby’s transition out of the NICU,” says Mike Borders, board chair of the nonprofit Friends of Prentice, which gave the initial $500,000 in funding for the app.
Now with Covid-19 making family visits difficult, the app shines even more, enabling parents to stay connected. Garfield, Lee, and their team are looking to expand the app to three other Chicago-area NICUs, as well as potentially to Prentice’s newborn nursery and the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.