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Asynchronous video messaging promotes family involvement and mitigates separation in neonatal care
  1. Sandy Kirolos1,
  2. Lynsey Sutcliffe2,
  3. Maria Giatsi Clausen3,
  4. Carolyn Abernethy1,
  5. Shanthi Shanmugalingam4,
  6. Nicole Bauwens5,
  7. Judith Orme6,
  8. Kirsty Thomson7,
  9. Rosemary Grattan7,
  10. Neil Patel2
  1. 1 Neonatology, Princess Royal Maternity Hospital, Glasgow, UK
  2. 2 Neonatology, Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow, UK
  3. 3 School of Health Sciences, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, UK
  4. 4 Starlight neonatal unit, Barnet Hospital, London, UK
  5. 5 Neonatology, Aberdeen Maternity Hospital, Aberdeen, UK
  6. 6 Neonatology, Simpson Centre for Reproductive Health, Edinburgh, UK
  7. 7 Neonatology, Forth Valley Royal Hospital, Larbert, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sandy Kirolos, Neonatology, Princess Royal Maternity Hospital, Glasgow G31 2ER, UK; sandy.kirolos{at}


Objective To evaluate the parent and staff experience of a secure video messaging service as a component of neonatal care.

Design Multicentre evaluation incorporating quantitative and qualitative items.

Setting Level II and level III UK neonatal units.

Population Families of neonatal inpatients and neonatal staff.

Intervention Use of a secure, cloud-based asynchronous video messaging service to send short messages from neonatal staff to families. Evaluation undertaken July–November 2019.

Main outcome measures Parental experience, including anxiety, involvement in care, relationships between parents and staff, and breastmilk expression.

Results In pre-implementation surveys (n=41), families reported high levels of stress and anxiety and were receptive to use of the service. In post-implementation surveys (n=42), 88% perceived a benefit of the service on their neonatal experience. Families rated a positive impact of the service on anxiety, sleep, family involvement and relationships with staff. Qualitative responses indicated enhanced emotional closeness, increased involvement in care and a positive effect on breastmilk expression. Seventy-seven post-implementation staff surveys were also collected. Staff rated the service as easy to use, with minimal impact on workload. Seventy-one percent (n=55) felt the service had a positive impact on relationships with families. Staff identified the need to manage parental expectations in relation to the number of videos that could be sent.

Conclusions Asynchronous video messaging improves parental experience, emotional closeness to their baby and builds supportive relationships between families and staff. Asynchronous video supports models of family integrated care and can mitigate family separation, which could be particularly relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • neonatology
  • technology

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  • Contributors NP, MGC, LS developed the concept and designed the evaluation surveys. LS, SS, CA, KT, RG, NB and JO distributed surveys and collated results in their centres. SK and LS combined all survey data and performed the analysis, with support from MGC and NP. All authors contributed to authoring the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests NP developed the concept of video messaging and provided clinical input on development of the service. He has no financial or other interest in the service.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available upon reasonable request. All data, including raw data used for all figures and analysis, are available upon reasonable request from the corresponding author.

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