Having a baby in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is exhausting, heart-wrenching and honestly, just plain scary. And for parents who have to face the reality of not being able to stay in the hospital to watch over their baby full time, the strain is exacerbated even further. A genius team of doctors at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) had every single one of those worried parents in mind when they founded Angel Eye Camera Systems, an internet-based camera system that allows families to see–and interact—with their baby in the NICU.
In a recent article for KATV News, Dr. Curtis Lowery, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at UAMS and one of the founders of the Angel Eye camera, shared the inspiration for the invention of the Angel Eye camera system.
"The babies are often very, very sick, and they have to stay here for a long time, sometimes six months, and the parents, mothers, have to go back home," Dr. Lowery said. "So we came up with the idea that if we could put a camera on the bed, they could watch their child from home or bedroom or work."
Families are able to do more than just watch. The cameras are even equipped with a speaker system that allows parents to speak to baby through one-way audio.
The ‘Angel Eye’ camera has been growing in popularity since it was first released in 2013. In fact, over 40 partner hospitals across the country use the technology.
Currently, live video streaming is available through laptop, tablet or smartphone. But the team at Angel Eye Camera Systems is also working on an app for even easier accessibility in real time.
It’s easy to feel helpless and even isolated when baby is in the NICU. But this is yet another example of how hospitals are working hard to make it a little easier for families to feel involved. In the UK, one hospital is implementing family-integrated care and allowing parents to assist in the care of their preemie in the NICU. It’s developments like this in fetal care that make a challenging and painful experience a little more personal.