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Hospital uses iPads to connect mothers and newborns with 'BabyTime' initiative

Source: Cedars-Sinai

Cedars-Sinai hospital announced last week a new program it's calling "BabyTime," which uses Apple's iPad to help mothers stay connected to their newborns, even if they aren't able to move after giving birth.

BabyTime, a play on Apple's FaceTime, leverages the video messaging service to create a remote presence link between a new mother's room and the hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, reports TUAW.

As noted by Cedars-Sinai, the program allows moms who are non-ambulatory to "visit" the NICU, where babies are usually taken after a cesarean section is performed or other complications require strict monitoring.

According to chair of the Cedars-Sinai Department of Pediatrics and Ruth and Harry Roman Chair in Neonatology Charles F. Simmons Jr., MD, some 20 to 30 percent of mothers who undergo C-sections are not capable of traveling to the NICU during the first 24 to 48 hours after giving birth, an important time in mother-child bonding.

The system works by placing one iPad near a baby's incubator, while another is given to the mother. The portable video and audio platform grants a level of interaction never before possible in such an environment, and lets parents see and hear their newborn even though they are floors away.

Mothers can access BabyTime twice a day, remotely interacting with their baby and nurses over a secured internet connection.

"BabyTime will help bridge communication with the family and the baby's medical team and is an excellent use of technology to help new mothers bond with their babies, even when they cannot be physically at their babies' bedside," Simmons said. “When doctors and nurses are treating a newborn in the NICU, mom can be right there asking questions and getting updates, even if she’s on a different floor.”

The Cedars-Sinai initiative is just one example of how the iPad is slowly integrating with the medical field. It was reported last year that some hospitals were using the Apple tablet as visitor and patient kiosks, while the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared the device and an iOS app for mobile diagnoses.