Carle implements video diaries service to support family engagement in the NICU

22 April 2024

Carle implements video diaries service to support family engagement in the NICU

Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) provide critical care to over 300,000 babies annually across the United States due to a range of birth and health complications. With nearly 15% of all babies born in the US requiring specialist care, thousands of families spend time in the NICU.

As a level 3 perinatal NICU, Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana receives referrals from across Illinois, with many families needing to travel around 90 miles to see their babies in the hospital. While many NICUs have explored live streaming services to alleviate separation anxiety, internet connection, expensive hardware, parental distress (due to lack of context), and clinician capacity are just a few of the challenges associated with the technology.

In August 2023, Carle became the first unit in the United States to implement vCreate NICU Diaries. The secure asynchronous diaries service allows NICU staff to securely record and upload short video-clips and photos of the babies on approved devices, which are then shared directly with parents.

Kara Weigler, Nurse Manager at Carle said: “Before vCreate, we relied on a live streaming service, but when our funding had dried up, and the cameras were no longer covered by their warranty, the prospect of replacing them seemed extremely expensive. We also had concerns about consistently having the cameras on and forgetting to switch the cameras off when needed, so we looked for more seamless alternatives. Discovering and collaborating with vCreate was fantastic. They guided us through the security features and the process of implementing the service in the United States.”

NICU staff can add messages and graphic effects to accompany the videos and photos. These messages, which can be auto-translated into multiple languages, often include a summary of the baby’s activity and wellbeing, which helps families feel a part of their baby’s journey even when they’re apart.

Regarding Carle’s experience, Kara Weigler said: “We love to capture important moments and milestones, such as their first baths, bottle feeds, tuck-in times and after they’re extubated, and you’re able to see their sweet little faces.”

Read the full case study here or email us to request a demo.