Rebecca Smith, R.N., adjusts the Angel Eye camera above a baby in the UAMS neonatal intensive care unit.
LITTLE ROCK — Families of the tiniest babies at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest in Lehigh Valley region of eastern Pennsylvania now will be 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 (UAMS).
The Lehigh Valley Health Network demonstrated its new BabyCam at an event today in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) 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 so that 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.
“UAMS is pleased to have Lehigh Valley Health Network as its first partner in working to extend this technology into communities outside Arkansas to better serve the families that need it,” said Curtis Lowery, M.D., chairman of the UAMS College of Medicine Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, director of the UAMS Center for Distance Health. “That’s why we developed this technology — to help families, whether they have babies in our NICU, Lehigh’s or another hospital’s unit.”
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,” said LVHN President and CEO Ron Swinfard, M.D. “Very few medical centers provide this service, and Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest is pleased to be one of the very first.”
Lehigh Valley Health Network includes three hospital facilities — two in Allentown and one in Bethlehem, Pa.; nine health centers caring for communities in four Pennsylvania counties and numerous primary and specialty care physician practices throughout the region. Children’s Hospital at Lehigh Valley Hospital, where the NICU is located, is the only children’s hospital in the region, provides 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,” said Lorraine Dickey, M.D., LVHN neonatologist. “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.”
UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a statewide network of regional centers; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute, the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging and the Translational Research Institute. Named best Little Rock metropolitan area hospital by U.S. News & World Report, it is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has more than 2,800 students and 790 medical residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including about 1,000 physicians and other professionals who provide care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS’ Area Health Education Centers throughout the state. Visit www.uams.edu or www.uamshealth.com.