Newport Beach Philanthropy Grants $250,000 in Seed Money
for Hoag NICU Telemedicine Program
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. – August 21, 2014 – From tiny preemies with underdeveloped lungs to term babies born
critically ill, Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian’s Neonatal Intensive
Care Unit (NICU) nurtures the most vulnerable and fragile patients to
health. But the days, weeks and sometimes months of hospitalization these
delicate newborns require can take their toll on parents eager to bring
their infants home.
A generous grant to Hoag Hospital Foundation of $250,000 from the Legacy
Foundation will help Hoag’s NICU create a state-of-the-art video
link and telemedicine interface to improve the family experiences and
outcomes of the hospital’s most precious patients and their families.
The grant provides the seed funding for a pilot program in which parents
who are separated from their hospitalized baby due to their own medical
conditions, obligations at home to other children, or need to resume working
will be given 24-hour access to their newborns via a privacy-secure webcamera
at the infant’s bedside.
In the absence of being able to hold and snuggle their newborns, cameras
can bring about a level of connectedness between parents and their baby,
as well as familiarity and trust between parents and hospital staff that
is otherwise difficult or impossible to achieve, said Robert Hillyard,
M.D., Chief of Neonatology at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian and
Regional Neonatal Director of CHOC Children’s Specialists.
“There is currently no higher priority for the NICU program than
to bring the benefit of telemedicine technologies to our newborn patients
and their families,” Hillyard said. “We are grateful to the
Legacy Foundation for helping us realize this goal.”
In addition to enhancing the family experience, the telemedicine program
will give specialists and pediatricians a secure interface to provide
efficient, high-quality assessments. The program will also help Hoag build
a teleconference “center” to provide staff education opportunities
and increase the ability to participate in multi-center research.
“The vision of our NICU care team is to utilize readily available,
secure and functionally proven forms of audio-video linkages to improve
parents’ access to their hospitalized baby, improve our NICU staff’s
access to remote educational and research opportunities, and to improve
the CHOC pediatric subspecialty consultants’ access for treatment
of our infants,” Hillyard said.
Hoag and CHOC currently collaborate in NICU care. The telemedicine program
will bolster that collaboration by giving CHOC pediatric subspecialists
the ability to view a baby through high resolution cameras, interact with
parents and care providers and offer efficient, high quality consults.
The virtual campus will also expand the NICU’s reach to pediatric
specialists all over the world. Pediatric specialists in hematology, endocrinology,
gastroenterology, cardiology, dermatology and other specialties can be
uncommon, but complete remote “rounding technology” would
allow for access to these specialists regardless of their location, providing
the highest level multi-disciplinary approach to each patient.
“In as much as it truly ‘takes a village’ of highly trained
nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists, pharmacists and other service
providers to care for a critically ill newborn, staying informed and engaged
in the latest advances in neonatal care is essential,” Hillyard
said. “Advanced audio-visual conferencing has emerged as an invaluable
tool in connecting the teaching expertise of programs of excellence around
the country with smaller non-academic institutions.”
More importantly, parents will be able to remain a part of that “village,”
no matter where they are.
“We are proud to play a role in a program that will help promote
family bonding for parents whose babies are in the NICU,” The Legacy
Foundation spokesperson said. “Parents unable to be in the NICU
for extended periods of time receive peace of mind knowing their infants
are receiving attention and care.”
ABOUT THE HOAG NEONATAL INTENSIVE CARE UNIT
Since it opened more than 30 years ago, the Hoag Neonatal Intensive Care
Unit (NICU) has served some of Orange County’s most vulnerable patients
and rounds out Hoag’s comprehensive Maternal Child Services Program.
With the opening of the Sue and Bill Gross Women’s Pavilion in 2006,
Hoag affiliated with Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC).
Hoag’s NICU is a level IIIa – caring for all gestational age
infants. With the exception of surgery, the facility has full capability
and a multi-disciplinary team that specializes in caring for premature
infants. A robust program, the Hoag NICU has the second highest admissions
in the county, only behind CHOC, and cares for an average of 16 infants
at any time in a 21-bed unit. In keeping with Hoag’s family-centered
care approach, the NICU encourages family involvement and has open visitation.
Hoag is also embarking on a program to offer live bedside video access
to infants in the NICU to augment patient care and give working, traveling
and deployed parents 24-hour virtual access to their infants. Through
a program unique in Orange County, Hoag also offers developmental screening
and follow-up for two years to all its NICU patients.
ABOUT THE LEGACY FOUNDATION
The Legacy Foundation, a fund of the Orange County Community Foundation,
was established to support organizations serving people who suffer from
poverty, poor health, abuse, lack of education and a lack of opportunities
to better their lives.