This spring, families of infants diagnosed with high-risk single ventricle heart defects were sent home with specially configured iPads and apps that help send important monitoring data to their UF Health care team. These young patients from the UF Health Congenital Heart Center, part of UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital, were the first in the state to use this technology that sends real-time vital signs and other data to their clinicians.
In the past, each infant’s at-home caregiver wrote down the patient’s vital signs, calculated them manually and submitted them to the clinicians in a binder during an in-person visit. This new app allows these family members to submit their baby’s vital signs directly to an online portal and engage with the clinical team instantly via secure video, messaging and photo sharing.
“Some of the problems associated with the binder is that, invariably, as parents are rushing to a doctor appointment they sometimes forget to bring the binder, which is vital for patient care,” said Jennifer Co-Vu, M.D., FAAP, a UF College of Medicine pediatric cardiologist and UF Health Congenital Heart Center Single Ventricle Program director. “With this app, we can track their weight, the oxygen saturation and their intake.”
Added Mark Bleiweis, M.D., UF College of Medicine pediatric and congenital cardiovascular surgery chief and UF Health Congenital Heart Center director, “This new technology is a wonderful resource for our high-risk cardiology patients and their families, many of whom travel from hours away to get to our center. We’re confident that the program will allow for better engagement between families and our clinical staff, giving everyone confidence that our infants are doing well during the critical at-home monitoring period. It will also allow us to troubleshoot problems remotely and better serve patients from further distances than we were ever able to see prior to the app.”
The app is another example of how faculty and staff at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital are providing innovative care to high-risk patients. In addition, the Single Ventricle Home Monitoring Program has reduced the mortality rate for UF Health patients with hypoplastic left heart syndrome to zero. This remarkable lifesaving program was initiated and is led at UF Health by the single ventricle home monitoring team at the Congenital Heart Center.