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Virtual Rooms At ‘U’ Children’s Hospital Keep New Families Connected

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CBS Minnesota (con't)

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – All week, the WCCO Morning Show is taking a look at the University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital and all of the things that make it stand out.

One problem that’s pretty universal is that hospital stays make it hard to connect with family, friends even the school classroom. Now imagine being a new parent separated from your baby.

New virtual rooms are helping make that tough situation a little easier through video carts, laptops and tablets.

A sleeping newborn can bring new parents great peace, but parents and babies in medical emergencies can’t always be together. Jason Albrecht, manager of patient/family interactive services, said that they used to send out digital photographs via email.

That doesn’t really cut it in the age of Facetime and Skype, but those aren’t private enough for a hospital. So Albrecht went searching for something that could help families connect anywhere, anytime.

“We’ve been able to find a technology solution that helps us be able to connect moms and babies, dads and babies no matter where they have to be,” Albrecht said.

The video conferencing technology allows parents to both see and hear their children.

“The technology we have in place here is all very secure and private. Families get a password they log into their own virtual chatroom, and they can share that anyone they want to information with,” Albrecht said.

One iPad watches over the baby, while the other is portable and goes with mom. The hospital currently has six mobile carts.

The combination costs $2,400, plus the cost to support the technology day or night.

Albrecht is currently trying to get 25 iPads into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

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