’mylittleone’, a unique product that allows parents of premature babies to be connected to their new-born via a secure webcam service whilst in an intensive care baby unit, has launched in Victoria Hospital, Fife today.
This innovative project is the first product fully taken to market by The Digital Health & Care Institute (DHI) and is in partnership with IC24, with NHS Fife being the first health board involved with the ground-breaking project.
Victoria Hospital’s Neonatal Unit is the first hospital in the UK to invest in this cutting edge technology. It has eight cots equipped with wireless IPcams allowing parents to view their baby in real time. Nurses in the special care baby unit control the camera feed, which transmits a secure live video stream to mylittleone tablets in the parent’s hospital room. The cameras also link up to a computer in the nurses’ station giving an additional level of care.
Dr Sean Ainsworth, NHS Fife Consultant Paediatrician and Neonatologist, commented:
“In Scotland approximately 10 % to 12% of all babies are admitted to a special care baby unit because they are either premature or just too poorly to remain with their mothers. We hope that ’mylittleone’ will help to overcome some of the potential psychological consequences, for example the sense of isolation, by allowing mothers to see their baby when they are unable to be close by.”
The technology, which has been developed by IC4, a UK-based company specialising in telehealth and telecare services, aims to bring mum and her baby physically closer at a time that is difficult and stressful. The hope is that being able to see the baby’s incubator from their own bedside will provide mums with reassurance, improve the important bonding process and prevent attachment disorders later on.
Medical Director, Dr Keith Grimes of IC24, said:
“Using modern, simple to use technology such as tablets and IP cameras we have been able to develop a secure and innovative platform that allows parents to be closer to their new-born at a time when they are most vulnerable and in need of help. We look forward to seeing it in action and hearing the stories of parents who have used the system.”
CEO, Justene Ewing of Digital Health & Care Institute, commented:
“The birth of a premature child is a distressing time for mothers and ’mylittleone’ aims to alleviate some of the worry. This is the first product where we have collaborated with our partners to develop a prototype, research and evaluate it and bring it to market and with over 50 other projects in our pipeline, I look forward to launching more ground breaking projects in the months to come.”
Formed in 2013 as a Scottish Government Innovation Centre, the Digital Health & Care Institute aims to co-create sustainable economic growth by bringing together health and care organisations and technology firms from across the globe to produce innovative new technologies that will transform people’s lives and help Scotland become an exporter of such products and services.
Dr Susan Kerr, on behalf of the Parenting & Family Support Research Group, Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) said:
“We are delighted to be working with colleagues in Glasgow, the Edinburgh Health Services Research Unit and NHS Fife to evaluate the use of ‘mylittleone.’ Our plan is to explore the views and experience of parents and healthcare professionals who have used the technology. The information gathered over the next 12 months will allow us to make recommendations for the future development and use of mylittleone. The project will provide useful evidence to underpin the development of digital solutions in neonatal care settings, an area of priority highlighted by the Scottish Government."