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June 13, 2017

Penn tests new app designed for nurses, mothers of ICU newborns

Last month, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania’s Intensive Care Nursery, which manages breast milk for almost half a million newborn babies in critical care, began testing out a new management system to make the lives of nurses – and new mothers – a lot easier.

Keriton is an app designed by nurses and moms to monitor inventory of breast milk and serve as a communication method between new mothers and the hospital.

“For moms, having to manually keep track of when they last pumped, which side they pumped from and how much they could produce, is incredibly stressful in a time when they should be able to focus on the well-being of their child,” Kelly Convery, a lactation consultant at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, said in an interview with Penn Medicine News.

The app aims to make it more manageable for a mother to breastfeed her child even if the mother is discharged and the baby remains in intensive care. The idea came from Vidur Bhatnagar, who, as a graduate student at Penn studying robotics, was inspired to build the app after his nephew’s premature birth in 2011.

“It just stuck with me that my sister was crying for three days and was not able to feed her child,” Bhatnagar told MedCity News in March. “When you’re already in a stressful situation, remembering when you last pumped, or which side, or how long you pumped for is not always easy or a priority.”

After presenting the app at the PennApps 2016 competition and raising $100,000 in 2016, he began building and testing the app, which is now in pilot testing.

In its current state, the app encapsulates four different functions, including a dashboard for lactation nurses to monitor pumping patterns, a forum for mothers to connect with lactation specialists, a forum for nurses to send photos to mothers of their babies and an inventory management system.

Read more about the app at Penn Medicine News.

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