Timpanogos Regional is the only Utah hospital enabling virtual visits with hospitalized newborns

Orem, UT - Timpanogos Regional Hospital is now the only one in Utah enabling virtual visits with newborns who are hospitalized in its neonatal intensive care unit. This means parents, siblings, and extended family members can check-in on the newest addition to the family, whenever and wherever they are --via their smartphone, tablet or personal computer.

"Being away from a baby in the NICU is very traumatic for parents and now we can provide reassurance and peace-of-mind," said Sandy Ewell, chief nursing officer at Timpanogos Regional Hospital. "Parents are using their smartphones to see their little one via our new webcams - whenever they would like. Siblings can too, which is so great because they cannot visit in the NICU. For these reasons and more, we are so excited to provide this service to our patients!"

Nationwide, children are typically not allowed in a NICU due to the need to protect all of the newborns from the common cold and flu, etc. As a result, siblings often wait an average of two weeks or more to "meet" their new baby brother or sister, according to the March of Dimes. At Timpanogos Regional Hospital, excited children can see their long-awaited siblings much sooner.

In the NICU at this Orem-based hospital, 12 beside cameras stand ready to enable virtual visits with family members. The small webcam transmits live stream video of the baby through a secure and private closed system. Hospital staff provides unique usernames and passwords to the infant's parents exclusively. In turn, they may share access with family members near and far.

"The potential benefits for this new service are endless," said Dixie McClain, NICU director at Timpanogos Regional Hospital. "Moms who must stay home with other kids or go to work can regularly check on their babies. Grandparents who live out of state no longer have to wait to meet the newest addition to the family. Best benefit of all is that dads who are deployed in the military can see their newborn from wherever they are in the world, 24/7."

Timpanogos Regional Hospital used a $25,000 grant funded by the 2016 Pathway Award and sponsored by Cerner® to purchase the NICVIEW® webcam system. Every year, the American Nurses Credentialing Center recognizes an organization that demonstrates innovation and technology to create a positive nurse practice environment. NICU nurses at Timpanogos Regional won the award with their innovative "Mom2Baby" iPads proposal.