Dr. Till Dresbach, Senior Physician for paediatrics and youth medicine at the University Hospital Bonn, Germany

Which requirements had to be fulfilled to install a web-based camera system?

In our clinical unit it turned out to be reasonable having involved different departments in this project from the very beginning. We took into account the medical and healthcare staff, the Human resources- and IT-department, as well as the data security and management department. This proactive approach has helped to reduce initial reservations among the personnel. By now, video-streaming has become a common part of our daily routine in the NICU.


What can parents expect from such a video-streaming-service?

After connecting to a secured online platform, parents get the opportunity to watch their child on a digital bedside-camera. Parents willing to use this service receive an individual password to gain access to the online platform, streaming pictures of their child in real-time. It is possible to log in from all mobile devices with a steady internet connection. Due to data and personal security, video streaming will be encoded. The system does not save picture files nor does it broadcast audio signals. The camera is adjusted in a position that does neither show health data/protected health information nor vital data on monitors or the like. Moreover, a solution for video streaming in the NICU must comply with German data protection regulations. Currently available camera systems provide pictures in good quality, comparable to video telephony. 


What are the positive outcomes of this technique besides becalming the parents?

Video streaming bears many positive aspects not only for parents but for siblings and other dependants as well. Having the option of a “virtual visit“ empowers mothers and fathers and enhances their competences as parents. First of all, the stress level amongst parents decreases, consequently, siblings who very often have to cope with the absence of at least on parent during this time, are also expected to benefit from this step. Some mothers make use of the service to stimulate lactation when pumping breast milk. Video-streaming in the NICU is another component to incorporate parents into the treatment of their child. It is an additional step to maximise transparency in the medical care of our smallest patients.