The birth of new life has always been wonderful and is the most important activity that sustains our society. It is an area where it should be the safest, and therefore the most conservative. At the same time, caring for a newborn baby is also one of the most difficult activities, since babies communicate their thoughts and conditions only through crying. After giving birth, weary mothers need to find what babies want and take care of them even though they are more tired than ever. That's why postpartum care centers are popular in Asian countries including South Korea and China. Even recently, a drama on the theme of a postpartum care center has been aired in popularity in South Korea.
Postpartum care centers generally offer two services. On behalf of the mother, they take care of the newborn, such as feeding, changing diapers and checking their health. In addition, they provide various programs to help mothers recover their tired and exhausted body. Mothers and babies usually stay at the postpartum care center for 2 weeks to a month and enjoy the services.
Let's take a closer look at the services of the postpartum care center. At 6 a.m., Lily, two days old, is lying on the bassinet in the newborn's room and crying. A seasoned nurse quickly notices why the baby is crying, and then warms the breast milk that Lily's mother had given her the day before to the right temperature. When she finishes feeding Lily, make her burp while holding Lily around her body. Now it's time to check Lily’s health. After weighing her, measuring her body temperature then the nurse lies her back on the bassinet. A nurse carefully checks about 20 items, such as runny nose, eye or skin abnormalities, and jaundice, then records them in the paper chart. Now another baby started crying again. At that time, Lily's mom wakes up in the morning and checks out today's schedule. Yoga and massage are booked in the morning, and there are nursing classes in the afternoon. Meanwhile, the postpartum care center checks her weight and blood pressure to see if there were any other uncomfortable issues.
There seems to be no big problem by looking at this far. However, if you look a little deeper, the story is quite different. Like other service industries, a postpartum care center faces various challenges in the process of serving customers. Mothers and newborns are the postpartum care center's customers who are having the most sensitive times. The baby is crying for no apparent reason, and mothers complain about the smallest things. The baby's health status is checked 24 hours a day, recorded on a paper chart, and the manager inputs it into the computer again. The reservation status is displayed on a paper calendar, and requests from mothers are handled by phone or in person. Even if a baby is infected with a disease, it can lead to business closure.
THE FOURTH INDUSTRY AND POSTPARTUM CARE CENTERS
The industry related to postpartum care centers is conservative and has analog characteristics. However, with the advent of the fourth industry, the latest technologies such as IoT and AI are making many changes. Initially, a monitoring service was introduced that allows only the mother or authorized personnel to check the current status of the baby through real-time streaming using the camera installed on the bassinet. With the application of IoT technology to bassinet and newborn products, it becomes possible to check whether the baby has defecated and to check health information such as breathing and blood oxygen saturation. Thanks to this, the postpartum care center was an opportunity to strengthen competitiveness by providing better service to customers and greatly improving work efficiency. This can be referred to as the first phase.
In the second phase, data science began to be introduced. It produces more valuable information through machine learning on the health and growth data of newborns collected through the IoT devices or directly input by the mother. It predicts the baby's growth and provides information on diseases that are difficult for parents to notice. It tells you when a baby will wake up, why a baby is crying, how to care for a baby and so on. The postpartum care center also uses AI to manage inventory and provides a chatbot based concierge service that receives and processes mothers' requests on behalf of the center officer. It also serves as a marketing platform by suggesting recommended content through interactive TV to mothers taking a break in the maternity room.
What's next? AI will be used more actively in postpartum care center management and newborn care beyond simple prediction and information provision. From this point on, everything starts to be connected. If a baby is too hot, the AI turns on the air conditioner to control the temperature, and if hungry, warm the water to prepare the formula. It acts as a 1:1 caring personal assistant to mothers, providing information such as the mothers’ condition, schedule, and theirbabies’ status every day. If a mother or newborn baby has any abnormalities or an accident, it calls emergency calls for help.
Industry 4.0 is driving changes not only in our close life but also in industries that have been considered somewhat conservative. It's more convenient, safer, and offers a whole new experience. Our lives will change more rapidly as these technological changes become more familiar and common to us. It is also the reason I look forward to the future.
ARTICLE WRITTEN BY: GEON-HONG KIM
Geon-Hong Kim is the CTO of NINANO Company Inc.
NINANO Company Inc is a part of our Plug and Play International Program. To know more about our programs, click here.