New App Helps Parents Track Their Premature Baby’s Progress

Having a premature baby can be an overwhelming experience. Bonding and attachment comes over time and is built on everyday moments – smiling, touching, using loving words, responding to baby’s needs. When parents are separated from their baby they often feel powerless and unsure what’s going on.

For neonatologist Bree Andrews and medical anthropologist Yaya Ren, creating an app that would support the gaps in patient communication with care teams was an answer to some of the stress they saw their families were under. With the help of the University of Chicago Medicine, the duo have created PreeMe+You, a social benefit health startup.

The benefits of Pree-Me+You

PreeMe+You helps parents to understand neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) language and get to know the team that’s supporting their baby. It lets parents locate and track their baby’s essential biomarkers and medical trajectory in real time.

NICU time is stressful. With the birth of a premature infant, parents are often quickly transitioned into the role of being a parent much sooner and in much different circumstances than they might have anticipated. Parents in the NICU report feelings of isolation, alienation and insecurity in the NCIU, unsure of their parental role.

Studies have shown, however, that interventions that engage parents in their infant progress can decrease parental stress and anxiety, increase positive parent-infant interaction, and even reduce an infant’s length of stay.

Hands On help

The PreeMe+You Hands On mobile tool is a partner to parents and rotating medical care teams – deconstructing and communicating NICU medical pathways and illness severity. Sharing each preemie’s unique personal health status and journey, everyone is on the same page in real time.

The app provides a series of yes or no questions that are easy to understand and helps parents to familiarise themselves with clinical markers and common neonatal physiological processes. Parents can choose to answer the questions on their own, with members of their medical team, or both.

Hands On then empowers families to take their babies home feeling prepared, cared for, and without delay.

Not yet publicly available, the app is currently under trial in the US. For the one in ten Australian mothers that birth their baby early, the human centred tool couldn’t come sooner.

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