January 13, 2011

Going into labor? Vanderbilt creates an app for that

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The new iPhone app helps manage labor and delivery.

Going into labor? Vanderbilt creates an app for that

Vanderbilt University Medical Center is proud to announce the birth of a healthy, happy parent-friendly endeavor — Baby Time, an iPhone application for expectant parents.

The free app, brainchild of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Medical Center's Strategic Marketing Department, is designed to help expectant parents know when it's time to come to the hospital, and, when a case of delivery day amnesia sets in, includes a map directing them to Vanderbilt University Hospital.

Baby Time has four features: a timer to track contractions and the time between contractions; a hospital quick dial for calling the provider and other important people on the couple's notification list; directions to VUH (the app is compatible and integrated with Google Maps for directions); and a Frequently Asked Questions section specifically about labor and delivery.

The FAQ section includes some of the most common questions: When do I call my provider? May we take photos? What do I bring? Where do I go? Did my water break? Am I having false labor?

Helping the strategic marketing team develop the app were Evan Silverstein, M.D., a Vanderbilt resident who was a medical student at the time, and Paramore/Redd Online Marketing of Nashville.

“The idea is to help moms-to-be have a smoother labor and delivery experience,” said Hannah Paramore, president of Paramore/Redd. “There are already apps out there to help moms with the general pregnancy process, but there was really nothing to help moms, or dads, with the actual labor and delivery process.”

“The big picture is that Vanderbilt University Medical Center is in the mobile business now,” said Jill Austin, MBA, assistant vice chancellor for Strategic Marketing and chief marketing officer for VUMC.

“We've launched a mobile website and key pieces of our website are available in the mobile format. The use of mobile devices is a growing trend and we are keeping track of how to get information into the hands of patients the way they want the information.”

Phase 2 of Baby Time will be developed using feedback from new parents who used the first phase and will include other smartphone versions of the app.

Howard Jones III, M.D., Betty and Lonnie S. Burnett professor and chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Vanderbilt, said the app came as part of a discussion about how to make the Vanderbilt labor and delivery experience more patient-friendly.

“Baby pictures and steak dinners have all been done. We wanted to offer what our patients in this demographic wanted, and an app for the iPhone was at the top of the list,” he said. “This generation is used to having all the information at their fingertips. We wanted a patient-friendly, accessible and easy-to-navigate system, all very important for our patients.”

The Baby Time app is free and available through Apple's iTunes app store.