Elevating the NICU Parent Engagement Experience One Feeding at a Time
By Christopher Rand, CEO of Angel Eye
National Breastfeeding Month, a healthcare industry observance focused on building a landscape for breastfeeding support is coming to a close. This year’s theme, “Every Step of the Way”, was particularly poignant, calling for the industry to rally around the idea of a world in which every family is supported at every step along the infant feeding journey. At AngelEye Health, we are dedicated to elevating the NICU experience for families and their babies, offering a suite of next generation technology solutions designed to create maximum parental engagement, including feeding and nutrition, which is so critical, especially in the early stages of a premature infant’s life.
Just over a year ago, we were introduced to MilkTracker at an industry conference. As an organization, we are always keeping a watchful eye out for innovative solutions to complement our existing tele-engagement offerings (for partnerships, or in some cases, possible acquisition targets). In this instance, we were particularly drawn to MilkTracker and its dedication to supporting clinical teams and parents in their NICU/PICU feeding and milk management processes. The synergies between our two entities were immediately apparent in terms of both mission and passion for improving the NICU family experience and moved quickly to make MilkTracker and its team part of AngelEye. Together, we got to work integrating their end-to-end feeding and milk inventory management solution into our existing AngelEye services.
At first glance, a clinical documentation solution like MilkTracker may not seem to fit into our portfolio as seamlessly as other tele-engagement technologies. However, the ability to connect parents with the clinical team through the infant feeding process clearly promotes our goal of improving the baby/family dyad through technology. Did you know that nurses in NICUs spend thousands of hours every year 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 not only feeding, but also monitoring, labeling, printing, and logging infant-specific nutrition data. MilkTracker is able to address these resource challenges by offering a simplified way to manage milk inventory with a focus on safety throughout the feeding process. This frees up the hospital staff to focus on the medical needs of the patient.
For NICU parents, MilkTracker gives both the clinical team and families peace of mind ensuring that the right feed matches the right patient every time. The application also empowers parents to be more engaged in their child’s feeding plan while also increasing their access to additional lactation education support and resources that may have been previously unavailable to them. Via integration with our camera system, mothers can watch their baby via live stream, pump, log milk, and understand their trends over time. With this approach, families are able to be more involved in their child’s care which has been proven to not only increase bonding, but also lead to better health outcomes.
During National Breastfeeding Month and every month we need to come together as an industry in recognition of the vital role that feeding plays in the parent-child bonding experience and agree that this does not need to be an exception in the NICU. As a healthcare organization we are honored to play an important role in supporting families along their NICU journey and ultimately to a successful transition home. By adding MilkTracker into our portfolio we are proud to offer yet another means to incorporate parents into their baby’s care and provide another layer of support to everyone involved in the care of a hospital’s youngest, most vulnerable patients.