New mobile application launched by St. Rose Dominican Hospitals helps families track their baby’s growth

As a nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit at St. Rose Dominican Hospitals, Anna Wroble has witnessed the worried looks on parents’ faces as they manage their newborn’s needs.

Wroble, who works at the Siena campus in Henderson, knows parents seek answers and information by toiling through the Internet, often exacerbating problems and worsening their fears.

“Sometimes the information (on the Internet) is not useful or accurate,” Wroble said. “It can be hard to decipher and create more fear.”

St. Rose Dominican Hospitals, a nonprofit hospital with campuses in Henderson and Las Vegas, launched a mobile application, the Baby Growth Tracker, that provides families with information to help ease parents’ minds. The application not only provides resources for parents with newborns in the neonatal intensive care unit but also gives a range of information for all new parents.

“This way we can give them factual information,” Wroble said. “We can give them really good, medically based data instead of some random Google search.”

Jennifer McDonnell, the director of communications for St. Rose Dominican Hospitals, said the application launched for Apple Inc. products Aug. 19 and has had 2,337 downloads. It landed on Android products Aug. 3 and has had 1,104 downloads.

“And we still have our five-star rating,” McDonnell said.

Wroble submitted the idea to the Greenlight Challenge, an annual event that asks employees and volunteers of Dignity Health, the parent company of St. Rose, to solve crucial issues for the organization. McDonnell said this was the second year of the challenge.

Dignity Health has more than 60,000 employees, volunteers and physicians.

This year, McDonnell said, the challenge was to use emerging technology, such as smartphones, to improve the quality of care and expand access to the community. Wroble said the company provided $50,000 in funding for the most innovative idea.

“When I first got the email, I erased it,” Wroble said.

But something made Wroble pull it out again. She had seen firsthand how families struggled to wrap their heads around the information they were presented regarding their newborns.

About 300 other applicants submitted ideas for the challenge. The hospital got word in October 2011 that Wroble’s idea had been selected.

“I was really excited but anxious,” Wroble said. “I wanted to snap my fingers and have it be done. I felt that this was something that could help families. But we had a great team, and we put it together in a quick and timely manner.”

St. Rose Dominican partnered with a sister hospital, Chandler Regional Medical Center in Arizona, to help launch the application. The center provided an additional $50,000. McDonnell said St. Rose Dominican also received a $50,000 grant from the Children’s Miracle Network.

It was a challenge to format the application for about six platforms, McDonnell said.

“They might look the same to everyone, but they are slightly different,” McDonnell said. “There is one for the iPhone or the iPad or Android.”

McDonnell said there are other general applications that don’t format to accommodate different electronics, which means the quality is not as good as it could be.

Figuring out content for the tracker was the easy part, Wroble said.

“I just went through what I do start to finish,” Wroble said.

The Baby Growth Tracker gives information about gestational age starting at 23 weeks to families who have, or are expecting to have, a baby born in the neonatal intensive care unit.

“This is for the moms and dads who might have a high-risk pregnancy,” Wroble said.

Wroble said they can take a tour of the neonatal unit and learn about its different parts. She has the task of letting parents know the do’s and don’ts inside the unit. With the application, she can at least explain some of the things parents can do and what to expect.

“Usually when they come in for the first time, they are so overwhelmed,” Wroble said. “The No. 1 comment I get is, ‘I feel so helpless.’ “

Once the newborn is ready to go home, the parents receive follow-up instructions.

“It usually goes in one ear and out the other because they are so overwhelmed,” Wroble said. “And the paperwork we give them is sometimes trashed.”

If families have to schedule appointments with other doctors after they leave, the application can help with follow-up care. The tracker also includes relevant information for mothers-to-be and allows parents to track their baby’s progress from height and weight to head circumference from birth through the first year.

Videos about breast-feeding, hand expressing and formula safety also can be found in the application.

“We couldn’t find any videos, so we got to film our own,” Wroble said.

There also is a component that talks about spiritual care with inspirational quotes and guidance.

Wroble is already envisioning the next updated versions of the application.

“I want to do something in Spanish,” Wroble said.

Wroble also said she would like to add a parent forum for families to connect about their experiences.

The application is free and can be found in iTunes and Android stores under the keywords Dignity Health.

For more information, visit

Contact Henderson/Anthem View reporter Michael Lyle at or 387-5201.

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