Purpose of App Review
Chandler Regional Medical Center released the Guide for New Parents app in August of 2012, geared towards orienting and educating parents of their tiny patients to the strange and sometimes scary world of the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit).
This review is written by an Ob/Gyn (obstetrics and gynecology) physician resident and is intended for parents, as well as healthcare professionals of patients and parents with neonates in the neonatal intensive care unit.
The New Guide for Parents app is geared toward the parents, and more specifically mothers, of NICU babies. The app focuses on providing visual, video, and written information on what parents can do for their infants, as well as what they can expect in their time in the NICU. While the app is geared towards patients of Chandler Regional Medical Center, it’s written and video education components can help parents of neonates of other intensive care units.
The Guide for New Parents user interface is straightforward and simple to follow. Parents, both mothers and fathers, can easily navigate from one area to the next, each providing useful information.
The first section of the app (NICU Tour & Other Videos) provides a number of videos to help parents – these are broken up into NICU tours, educational, and general. While the NICU tour section focuses on Chandler’s resources, there is helpful general information about a NICU and what parents can expect when they first come to the NICU.
Educational videos focus on infant feeding, while general videos focus on the birth center at Chandler. Videos are available in small or large format.
The “Track My Baby” section provides several resources – not only can you read about what to expect from a baby at a particular gestational age, but the app allows you to put in your neonate of interest’s information and to follow them over time. Multiple babies can be added and the baby does not have to be at Chandler Regional – the information can be passcode locked as well.
The app then allows you to track weight, length, and head circumference over time and plots these values according to percentiles. The guides for gestational age helps parents to know what to expect from their child(ren), as well as gives suggestions of how parents can interact and bond with their child(ren). The ability to add multiple children is important in that twins, triplets, and higher-order pregnancies are more likely to end up with infants requiring admission to the NICU.
The “Feeding My Baby” section is breastfeeding focused (highlighting the importance of breastfeeding), including sections on challenges of breastfeeding and also discusses basics of bottle feeding using formula.
A unique feature of this section is a feeding log/timer. The bold-faced timer not only provides a useful visual guide, but when stopped, automatically adds the information to the log. Links and telephone numbers are provided for support of breastfeeding, although many of these are only applicable to patients of Chandler Regional
The most limited section, although the most generalizable section, is the “Spiritual Care” section. Several uplifting quotes are given in this section. Mostly non-denominational and general to life. I thought I would find references for spiritual care and support in this section, but none of this was given. The quotations do not always seem related to what parents or other caregivers might be looking for or need.
Not every section is relevant for parents of infants in ICUs other than Chandler. The last two areas – Follow-Up Care and Find My Hospital – are useful only to those at Chandler Regional.
However, for patients of Chandler, both of these sections provide helpful referral information for a variety of specialties, as well as directions to the hospital (opening up in Google Maps).
- Thoughtful video development in terms of what parents/relatives may see when visiting
- “Track My Baby” section applicable to babies in and outside of Chandler Regional
- Coverage of both breastfeeding and bottle feeding basics
- Breastfeeding/pumping videos
- Feeding log
- Breastfeeding support
- Gestational Age guides with suggestions of what visitors/parents can do
- Limited number of educational videos
- No ability to add pictures of baby to entries on “Track My Baby”
- Focuses on mothers in the welcoming screen, rather than including other family members or caregivers
- Underdeveloped spiritual care section
- Does not include discussion of common neonatal medical problems and/or complications
Healthcare providers that would benefit from the app
- Residents, physicians, medical students, nurses looking to supplement patient education – most useful for those in obstetrics/perinatology or pediatrics/neonatology.
Patients that may benefit from app
- Parents with already born infants who are in the NICU or who may be admitted to the NICU. Patients whose baby might be born early and/or when born require NICU admission
Though tailored to parents of neonates at Chandler Regional Medical Center, the Guide for New Parents app can be helpful to parents with babies in the NICU or who may be admitted to the NICU. The application offers a few personalized touches, especially the “Track My Baby” section, that make this app more universal than just for one medical system. This app also offers a good example of how other NICUs/health care systems may develop their own applications appropriate to their guidelines and facilities.
While parents of Chandler Regional infants will get the most out of the application, it is useful to parents who want to have an additional interactive application for learning about the NICU and how to take care of their sick child. Since the NICUs that I work with do not have a similar application, I would feel comfortable recommending this application to my patients, as a supplemental source to what my local neonatology colleagues provide.
Rating: (1 to 5 stars) 3.63
- User Interface – 3.5
- Multimedia usage – 3.5
- Price – 5 (free)
- Real world applicability – 2.5
This post does not establish, nor is it intended to establish, a patient physician relationship with anyone. It does not substitute for professional advice, and does not substitute for an in-person evaluation with your health care provider. It does not provide the definitive statement on the subject addressed. Before using these apps please consult with your own physician or health care provider as to the apps validity and accuracy as this post is not intended to affirm the validity or accuracy of the apps in question. The app(s) mentioned in this post should not be used without discussing the app first with your healthcare provider.