Medhealth Review

Employing Technology to Elevate the Pediatric Family Experience

As a goal, hospitals work to make their patients and communities healthier. To do so, hospitals need to be more than health providers – they need to partner with patients and families in their pursuit of wellness both in and out of the facility. When the patient is a child in the NICU or PICU, the hospital experience becomes especially important for the parents and families.

Given the clinical and bonding benefits of the parent-baby dyad, it is vital that parents are consistently and actively engaged with their child’s care team as soon as possible after a child is admitted. Achieving this involves a comprehensive parent and family engagement program encompassing education, visualization, patient information sharing, and feeding management.

Many hospitals do not have the staff, time, or money to focus on building this type of program. In these cases, they can benefit by partnering with industry experts to support developing and maintaining these resources for the parents and families of hospitalized children, especially those in critical care units. 

HIPAA-compliant family engagement platforms that integrate families simply and seamlessly into their child’s care team have a proven, positive impact on the quality of the family experience, care delivery workflows for the dedicated bedside team, and, ultimately, the improved health of the patient. To best support staff, patients, and families, hospitals should consider integrating comprehensive family engagement technology for neonatal and pediatric hospital units that deliver real-time access to the patient and care team. 

Bedside Cameras: Typically, parents and family members cannot be at a patient’s bedside 24/7. In many instances, other children at home, jobs to work, and many other confounding factors make hospital visits tricky. The COVID-19 pandemic complicated hospital visits further by restricting visitation times and the number of visitors a patient could have.

To help families connect with their child, integrating a bedside camera system that can be managed by the staff on the unit and accessed by patient families from any mobile device provides significant returns in family satisfaction. Additionally, providing access to bedside cameras has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety for parents, support bonding when family members cannot be at the hospital, and help improve staff workflow efficiency. 

Digital Education: Offering digital education can make all the difference for NICU families. Today, most families are handed a stack of printed pamphlets or compelled to watch time-consuming videos only available at the hospital. Digital education solutions empower parents by offering an on-demand portal where hospitals can upload customizable education and monitor parents’ progress on the patient’s path to discharge. Utilizing informational graphics, videos, PDFs, and presentations, hospitals can create customized education to meet the unique needs of each family that is accessible anywhere, anytime.

Studies show that when care plan instructions are understood at discharge, patients are 30% less likely to be readmitted or to visit the ER. They also save the care team countless hours educating families and answering questions, all while cutting down on production costs spent printing and ordering more binders and folders. While always available to families with specific questions, using a third-party education platform frees time for direct patient care since education is more accessible and efficient. 

Expand Care Team and Family Communication: Hospitals can improve NICU/PICU outcomes by providing visual connections that give parents comfort and confidence. One-way provider-to-parent communication allows care teams to easily share patient status and memorable moments with real-time texts, pictures, and recorded videos. Photo, video, and text updates help enhance family bonding while allowing staff to stay focused on patient care. This type of technology supports care team workflows and engages parents as essential care team members from any connected device. 

Feeding and Milk Inventory Management: Nurses in NICUs and PICUs spend thousands of hours every year across 1,500 plus hospitals, managing milk for the nearly 500,000 babies in the United States that require special and often critical care in the first months of their lives. These efforts include feeding, monitoring, labeling, printing, and logging infant-specific nutrition data. Introducing a feeding and milk inventory management solution can help reduce human error, increase efficiency, and help hospitals automatically track valuable breast milk data through EHR integration.

A parent-facing application allows parents to track milk production and visualize their milk inventory at home or in the hospital, further reducing feeding errors. Additional supportive communication tools, like two-way, HIPAA-compliant messaging with lactation staff can help support breastfeeding and milk production, reduce nurse workloads and keep parents engaged and involved in their child’s care. 

Engaging patients effectively requires integrating and optimizing technology to serve patients and their families better. Research shows that over half of CIOs rate patient engagement technology as one of their top priorities. More engaged patients and families lead to potentially improved Press Ganey scores as it relates to patient satisfaction when parents of patients fill out the survey upon discharge.

As the only organization providing a complete HIPAA-compliant family engagement platform, AngelEye Health delivers a unique approach that has a proven, positive impact on the quality of the family experience, care delivery workflows for the dedicated bedside team, and, ultimately, the improved health of the patient. From admission to discharge, AngelEye Health positively impacts staff, families, and patients along the journey and ultimately to a successful transition home. 

By Christopher Rand, CEO at AngelEye Health

Must Read
Related Articles