Children’s Mercy receives prize for app that helps save babies’ lives

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Children's Mercy Hospital received the Magnet Prize on Wednesday from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. The hospital and its nurses were recognized for creating an innovative app that they say is saving babies' lives.

Ava Allen entered the world in critical condition. The two main arteries leaving her heart were reversed. Her body couldn't get enough blood. Surgery provided a temporary repair, and she went home six weeks later.

"We have all these awesome people that are supporting us and praying for us, but it's also like, okay, you're kinda on your own now," said her mother, Jill Allen, of Gladstone.

Except they weren't alone. They used an app created by the team at Children's Mercy's Ward Family Heart Center. It's called CHAMP -- Cardiac High Acuity Monitoring Program.

"We used to send them home with this notebook and say, 'Here you go. Fill in this data. We'll check with you once a week'," said Dr. Amy Lay, a cardiologist.

Now parents enter information daily into a tablet. That information includes vital signs, how much the baby has eaten and the number of wet or dirty diapers. The data is evaluated through algorithms that trigger alerts to the nurses. Parents can also send videos.

"It's actually saved lives. We've been able to bring babies in sooner based on either the video or parent concern or some of the data," said Dr. Lay.

Ava's mom says CHAMP was a huge support and comfort.

"Because you have those people behind the tablet that are right there for you if something were to happen," said Allen.

Ava had a second heart surgery in July.

"She's growing. Healthy. She's off the chart for height and weight," said her mother.

She'll have a third surgery to finish repairing her heart in a few years.

The $50,000 prize that Children's Mercy nurses received will go toward expanding CHAMP to other hospitals. Seattle Children's Hospital is already using it. North Kansas City-based Cerner sponsors the Magnet Prize.