Microsoft technology has been implemented by US healthcare institutions to help newborns and parents bond, and improve the patient experience.
Hackensack University Medical Center (HackensackUMC) in the US has implemented a Microsoft Lync-based solution to enable parents to bond with babies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
“We wanted to provide every opportunity for the mum, the dad, the baby and the family to bond,” said Cassandra Martin-Walters, nurse manager of the NICU, in a blog post. “When babies enter the NICU, the parents can’t be there with them. We wanted to provide a solution for that bonding.”
A camera is positioned in the baby’s crib and the parents are then able to use a tablet to see their baby in real time. The hospital has also incorporated an audio feature to enable babies to hear their parents’ voices, while parents can share their video with select family and friends through a secure connection.
“There have been times when some of the mums became very critical as a result of the pregnancy and had to be intubated on life-sustaining support in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit,” said Martin-Walters. “After they recovered, some mums shared with us that seeing their baby in a live video feed actually gave them hope, which helped them to get better. Our nurses believe this technology has the capability to truly enhance recovery.”
HackensackUMC now aims to fully integrate technological solutions that support the best possible patient experiences throughout the entire hospital network.
Microsoft technology has also been used to enhance the patient healthcare experience. For example, many institutions rely on Active Medication Lists, which are included in electronic health records. This enables clinical staff to instantly access an up-to-date list of a patient’s prescribed medications, vitamins and over-the-counter medications, rather than needing to ask patients the same questions multiple times.
Microsoft technology has also been used to develop patient portals, such as HealthVault, which offers patients secure and private access to their health information online. Some patient portals also allow patients to update their contact information, schedule appointments, refill prescriptions and use e-mail to communicate with their providers.
Many medical institutions are also using mobile apps to enable clinical staff to access evidence-based information on hand-held devices, such as UpToDate. The app enables users to access current, synthesised medical information to support point-of-care decision making, which helps to reduce patient wait time and anxiety.
“If we value what we are trying to do, we will continue to take advantage of technology to support us in having more high-tech and high-touch experiences with our patients,” said Juliet Storm, registered nurse for Pediatrics Associates, in a blog post. “We need to keep learning how we can use all forms of technology to succeed in what we set out years ago to do – heal.”
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