Virtual neonatal intensive care units from Motherhood Hospitals

Bridging neonatal intensive care expertise gap between urban and rural India

Motherhood Hospital unveils first virtual Neonatal intensive care unit Network Across India

Motherhood Hospitals, a chain of women and children’s hospitals which operates 21 hospitals across 10 cities, has implemented a remote patient monitoring technology and system to provide virtual life-saving neonatal care to newborns admitted in nursing homes and hospitals in semi urban and rural areas which do not have proper Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU). 

Through the initiative, they treated 300 high-risk new-borns through NICU Live in four months. NICU Live is connected to five remote locations in India — Anantapur, Hindupur, Madanpalle, Patna and Hisar.

Neonatal care, which provides life-saving clinical care to newborns, is considered one of the most clinically demanding services in healthcare and Motherhood Hospitals’ NICU Live solution is helping transform this service to newborns in rural areas by using neonatal telehealth technologies backed by their team of highly experienced neonatologists and nurses across multiple locations creating a network of virtual neonatal intensive care units. 

With state-of-the-art remote monitoring technology, critically ill newborn babies in remote areas can get access to the expertise of Motherhood’s neonatology care team round-the-clock. Many birthing facilities do not have access to on-site neonatal care and NICU Live solution bridges this critical gap for preterm newborns or critically ill newborns.

NICU Live uses the latest remote monitoring technology and a specialized digital solution to treat high-risk newborns admitted in distant NICUs. In the first phase of this initiative, Motherhood Hospitals have set up a central care center (Hub), which is connected to five remote NICUs located in Anantapur, Hindupur, Madanapalle, Patna and Hisar.

The hub-and-spoke model is centered around full-time patient management and constant medical support. The Central Care team (hub) provides 24/7 monitoring and treatment support to the remote NICU (spoke) centers using high-resolution PTZ cameras that provide live video feed, a digital platform that ensures all critical information is shared digitally, and a constant communication link between the teams, thereby improving medical outcomes substantially for these newborns. Additionally, the experienced team of Neonatologists & NICU nurses provide regular upskilling and training to the spoke center care team on NICU treatment modalities.

Vijayarathna Venkatraman, CEO of Motherhood Hospitals, said, “Motherhood has been at the forefront of cutting-edge neonatal solutions. We have established 300 NICU beds across our network, which graduate more than 800 newborns each month. NICU Live is strengthening our mission of providing NICU care to the most distant parts of the country. With several new-borns in rural & semi-urban areas needing immediate NICU care, this program aims to bridge the gap and make NICU accessible to all. The technology is brilliant – what we’ve managed to do with it is a landmark moment in our journey to provide outstanding clinical care to newborns.” 

Prathap Chandra, neonatologist & pediatrician at Motherhood Hospitals, added, “With NICU Live, we can now expect shorter hospital stays, better ability to deal with critical cases, and happier outcomes. From a clinical standpoint, the pilot programme has been a revelation: we’re able to simplify the entire process right from admission to discharge. NICU Live’s proactive interventions and guided emergency management will set benchmarks in neonatal care once we bring more hospitals into the programme.”

NICU Live brings down the cost of a physical NICU without compromising the quality of care, besides bridging the gap in the availability of specialists. Other disadvantages in NICUs located in remote locations are the lack of full-time availability of quality clinicians, absence of advanced nursing expertise, and poor management of records, which are addressed through the remote-monitoring system. Families can look forward to immediate access to advanced NICU care in remote areas and lower medical expenses.

Motherhood Hospitals’ NICU Live project is the result of years of innovation in the field of neonatology, combining the experience in managing over 300 level-3 NICU beds and the expertise of handling the most clinically complex cases in the country.

Nearly 15,000 babies have been treated in Motherhood NICUs in the last five years. Currently, there are 15 NICUs on wheels across India, with around 3,500 babies having been retrieved from rural regions: Motherhood has covered 74 towns and traveled more than 100,000 kms to reach newborns in remote locations and deliver care.

“Motherhood’s NICU Live remote neonatal care is built on the backbone of India’s 3.5mn km of optical fiber cable network on which data, images and voice can travel seamlessly between the Care hub and the remote spoke to help save the lives of precious newborns. NICU Live virtual neonatology care network can potentially reach 1000 beds across the country over the next 5yrs and be a testament to the National Digital Health Mission,” said Vishal Bali, Executive chairman, Asia Healthcare Holdings. 


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