Investments in Innovative Neonatal Care Help Families Bond

News Release

Support for IWK Health Centre’s Chez NICU Home Solution to Improve Patient Outcomes, Create Jobs and Open Global Market Opportunities 

March 1, 2017 – Halifax, NS – Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency 

Building on its pilot project, the IWK Health Centre in Halifax is developing and commercializing the Chez NICU Home Solution for neonatal intensive care. Advancing the technology will provide increased support for families with newborns in neonatal intensive care. In addition, this support will result in new jobs and skills development in the life sciences and IT sectors, including seven new full-time and five student positions. Chez NICU Home is a product that the IWK will be able to license to other hospitals nationally and globally. 

Nearly one in eight babies is born preterm in Canada. Historically, parents weren’t always able to play a key role in the care of these babies. Chez NICU Home technology will help families with children in neonatal intensive care maintain closer bonds. Research shows that increased parent involvement improves outcomes for infants and parents, with shorter lengths of stay, fewer infections and improved infant-parent bonding. 

The Government of Canada is investing $3 million in the research and development of this secure virtual platform that will enable families and healthcare professionals to remotely monitor, interact with and learn about preterm infants through smart technology. 

The funding was announced today by the Honourable Scott Brison, President of the Treasury Board and Member of Parliament for Kings-Hants, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA). 

The investment is made under ACOA’s Atlantic Innovation Fund, which encourages partnerships among private sector firms, universities, colleges and other research institutions to develop and commercialize new or improved products and services. 

Cisco Canada will assist the IWK with Chez NICU Home’s technology requirements and with the commercialization of the product. Cisco is providing a $455,000 project contribution. 

Canada’s Innovation Agenda aims to make this country a global centre for innovation—one that creates jobs, drives growth across all industries and improves the lives of all Canadians. The Government’s investment in the IWK exemplifies that vision in action.


“The Government of Canada is committed to supporting innovation at leading institutions such as the IWK Health Centre. The development of the Chez NICU Home platform will improve healthcare outcomes for infants and families with children in neonatal intensive care. In addition, it will help to support a thriving middle class by creating jobs and providing opportunities for skills development in the life sciences and IT sectors.”

- The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA 

“Imagine how reassuring it will be for parents to have the tools to feel confident in their ability to take a more active role in care of their baby. Chez NICU Home will provide parents with the most up to date education available while also providing the technology to access support from family, friends, or health care providers through interactive virtual connection. This project will result in a universally-relevant and valuable product that the IWK Health Centre can license, and will foster new national and international collaborations. The Government of Canada invests in projects such as Chez NICU Home to improve Canada’s ability to compete in the global marketplace.”

- The Honourable Scott Brison, President of the Treasury Board and Member of Parliament for Kings-Hants 

"At the IWK, we are dedicated to a culture of creativity, discovery and innovation to advance care and health outcomes for women, children, and families. Chez NICU Home is a sophisticated system of digital health information, communication, teaching and support to improve the well-being and cognitive development of our most vulnerable patients while supporting their families. The collective impact of this work will be realized as a result of the strong partnerships and collaborative efforts of the IWK NICU team, parents, scientists and our partners; ACOA, Dalhousie, Cisco and the IWK Foundation."

- Tracy Kitch, President & CEO, IWK Health Centre 

“Cisco is pleased to partner with IWK in developing the Chez NICU Home Solution. We know the more parents and family are involved in the care of their infants, the better the outcome. But being onsite at the health centre if you don’t live in Halifax can be a challenge. Using Cisco video technology, Chez NICU Home bridges the distance gap to allow parents and family members who live across the region or across the country, to see their babies, have greater access to doctors, and play a more direct role in the care process for their child. The Chez NICU Home Solition is innovation which can benefit healthcare here at home in Halifax—and across the world.”

- Rod Murphy, Vice-President Atlantic, Cisco Canada

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Alex Smith
Director, Communications and Outreach
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Phone: (902) 426-9417/(902) 830-3839 (cell)

Ben Maycock
Communications Officer
IWK Health Centre
Phone: 902-470-7086/902-223-7090 (cell)

J.R Gabriel
Public Relations Manager
Cisco Canada
Phone: (416) 809-0826 (cell)

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