MU Children's Hospital Offers TLC for Infants Via Telehealth Program
COLUMBIA, Mo. - University of Missouri Children's Hospital has started a new program to benefit the families of its tiniest patients. Telehealth, Love and Care, or TLC, is a free video service that allows families of patients in the hospital's Newborn Intensive Care Unit an opportunity to see their babies when families cannot be at the hospital.
The service utilizes iPads and an application called Vidyo, which is a Web-based videoconferencing system similar to Skype. The TLC iPads are equipped with speakers that allow parents to talk or read to their baby, and ask questions of their children's health care providers.
"Some of our babies are in the hospital for two, three or even four months," said John Pardalos, M.D., director of neonatology and medical director of Children's Hospital Critical Care Transport Service. "At some point, parents either have to go back to work, they live far away or they have other kids whose day-to-day needs must be met, and so they cannot be with their babies in the hospital. Through this service, we can allow families to check in on their newborns even when they can't be here."
To use the service, families need a computer, webcam, high-speed Internet and an email address.
"Unlike most telehealth video services, the goal of this project is not to provide clinical care, but to let moms and dads interact with their babies from distant locations," Pardalos said.
The TLC project is funded through Children's Miracle Network's annual Radiothon, the Missouri Telehealth Network and MOREnet.