Our Obstetrics Stories

Sierra Vista’s New NICU Innovation Connects Parents to Their Babies 24/7

Nov 17, 2021

Dear fellow community members and colleagues,

One of my favorite events of the year took place this month – our annual reunion of patients and families with the nurses and doctors of our Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). It is through the anxiety and challenges of a baby being hospitalized, in order to support them in those precious and precarious times, where families and NICU staff bond and connect with each other. It’s an amazing event because these unintended connections bring life-long warmth and joy to hearts and souls.

I say “unintended connections” because no one expects their newborn to require the care of a NICU, and no one thinks about being discharged from the hospital after delivering without their baby going home with them. It’s gut wrenching.

As San Luis Obispo County’s only Level III NICU, at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center, we plan for this scenario so you don’t have to. We know this situation can cause parental stress that is not only acute, but it can negatively influence long-term parenting behavior and child development.

That’s why Tenet Health Central Coast is proud to announce that our NICU is now utilizing a research-proven innovation that helps parents and loved ones feel connected with their newborn, even when they are physically separate. It is called the NicView live-stream camera system and allows parents to view their baby anywhere in the world by computer or mobile device.  

This new connectivity tool is a virtual window into the baby’s bed in the NICU. Individual cameras are now mounted above incubators, providing parents with secure real-time viewing of their newborn 24/7 (except at times when the baby is receiving care).

Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center is the only NICU in California to utilize the NicView system to support connecting parents to their babies.

In the age of COVID-19, many have become blasé about video-call platforms like Zoom, FaceTime and other livestream tools, but for parents of babies that have to be in the NICU, this technology can be an emotional lifeline.

It means that parents can watch their children without taking time off from work. It also means they can see their child more often if there are transportation challenges. Importantly, during pandemic surges, it allows loved ones to see the child if visitors are limited.

NicView connection streams are secure, which includes no recordings. Login credentials ensure that parents are the only ones with access, and they have the control to share those login credentials with additional loved ones.

Research and real-world/anecdotal evidence report that NicView helps make parents feel more connected to the medical team, thereby enhancing confidence in the care being provided; and it shows real health benefits for the baby and family.

Thankfully, about 90% of newborns are healthy and do not have to go to the NICU. But for those that do, we are glad to provide NicView technology to keep families connected to their babies, 24/7. Just as intended.

Warmly,

Mark Lisa
Chief Executive Officer
Tenet Health Central Coast

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