Background & Goal
Most pregnant mothers expect to have a full-term pregnancy with a healthy baby to take home a day or two after delivery. When a neonate is delivered preterm or with a health condition that requires an extended hospital stay, it is difficult for mothers and fathers to remain at the hospital continuously and still maintain other family responsibilities, especially when parents live in remote or rural areas outside of an urban center. This often leaves the mother, the baby, or both far away from family and friends, which adds yet another level of stress on these families. Hospitalized infants frequently suffer delayed developmental milestones since they cannot hear the sounds of their mothers and other family members and NICU babies regularly suffer a stilted reentry into the family upon discharge from the hospital.
Dr. Sarah Rhoads redesigned and enhanced the Angel Eye Web-Camera System (Angel Eye) based on her research studies with the goal of helping mothers, fathers, and family members maintain a virtual presence in the NICU when they are unable to be physically with their hospitalized neonate.
Angel Eye serves parents and families of neonates hospitalized in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) by using technology to improve communication and collaboration of families and providers. Angel Eye allows for a continual video feed from the neonate’s isolette/crib through a password protected, HIPAA-compliant website. Parents can decide which family members and friends can use the system and provide them with the log-on information. The Angel Eye™ system provides its users two primary features: 1) one-way video of the hospitalized neonate transmitted virtually to the user and 2) one-way audio of the user as transmitted to the hospitalized neonate using an audio-controlled system that safely controls decibel levels. Also, for the first time in the NICU, Angel Eye has implemented a two-way chat feature in which mothers and NICU nurses can communicate through the portal.
With these technological capabilities, parents and family members can talk, sing, or read to their neonate, while watching the reaction of their neonate from a distance. Angel Eye also empowers families to introduce siblings of the hospitalized neonate to promote family bonding.