Children’s Minnesota expands program helping parents to take premature babies home sooner

A pilot program at Children’s Minnesota that has helped parents take their premature babies home sooner is now expanding.

Children’s Minnesota said Wednesday its Children’s in Home App-Based Monitoring Program (CHAMP) will now be available at both of its campuses in Minneapolis and St. Paul, as well as at Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS first reported on the innovative program last summer, when 18 families had participated in the first phase of the program’s study. At that time, the program was available only at the St. Paul campus. The Minneapolis campus was added to the program this spring before Mercy joined last month.

The health system says babies in the hospitals’ neonatal intensive care units (NICU) have to meet certain requirements to be in the program, such as having a nasogastric feeding tube while using a combination of oral and tube feedings.

As part of the program, each infant’s family is taught proper feeding techniques and CPR training, and then is able to use a specialized app from their home to input their newborn’s vitals on a daily basis. Their health care team is able to then review that information and offer feedback, if necessary.

“CHAMP has forged new ground in how Children’s Minnesota provides expert, specialized, care for our most vulnerable patients. The success and expansion of CHAMP is a testament to how Children’s Minnesota is committed to pioneering new resources that always put our patients first,” Dr. Cristina Miller, the medical director of the NICU follow-up clinic at Children’s Minnesota and founder and director of CHAMP, said in a statement. “CHAMP is helping more families enjoy time together under their own roof while cutting-edge technology keeps their care team close-by.”

As of Wednesday, 23 families have completed the program, Children’s Minnesota says.