Among the tubes, wires and beeping machines of the neonatal intensive care unit at the Canberra Hospital, there’s a simple piece of technology that has changed the lives of thousands of families: webcams.
Streaming direct from the cribs, the webcams allow parents to watch their newborn from home, and even share the link with friends and families. It’s an innovation that uses technology to bring out the human side of medicine. The cute little human side.
Called NICUCAM, the award-winning program was designed by Professor Zsuzsoka Kecskes from the ANU Medical School, who says its implementation has been “such a benefit to families.”
"Not every parent can come to the hospital every day to see their baby. Being able to see their baby online reassures the parents, who get to know their baby and, of course, show them off to relatives."
Professor Kecskes was named 2014 ACT Australian of the Year for her pioneering work with NICUCAM and also for including families in the design process of the new Centenary Hospital for Women and Children at the Canberra Hospital.
"It's important to include the family in projects like these,” she says. “Neonatology is a young discipline, we are still learning how important families are for the health of the baby."
Alongside her expertise in transforming hospital systems and processes to improve the quality of patient care, Professor Kecskes is widely respected as an outstanding clinician. Through the ANU Medical School’s partnership with the Canberra Hospital, she is training the next generation of doctors in neonatal care and in professionalism and leadership.
“It's a big step from being a student to being a doctor. I want to give them the tools and the resilience to survive and become the kind of doctors we want them to be,” she says.
With Professor Kecskes as inspiration, their futures are looking good.
The ANU Medical School provides world-class training for the next generation of medical scientists, doctors and health professionals to practice medicine with compassion and excellence, and with a particular understanding of Indigenous and rural healthcare.
Our partnership with the Canberra Hospital and Calvary Health Care allows students regular access to clinical teaching facilities and specialist academics, while our Rural Clinical School organises placements for all students to undertake practice in regional, rural and remote healthcare facilities. Students also have the opportunity to be placed in Indigenous healthcare settings, including a six-week placement in the Northern Territory.
Image credit: Martin Sharman