Creating a Secure, HIPAA-Compliant Breast Milk Management Platform
In 2011, an aspiring software developer was attending Jaypee Institute of Information Technology in Uttar Pradesh, India. That same year, his sister gave birth to a boy, who was born three weeks prematurely. With fluid in his lungs, doctors decided to admit the infant, but discharged his mother.
What followed was a mother who was understandably upset, unable to feed her child, while at the same time having to remember when she last pumped, for how long, on which side, and hand-labeling milk bottles.
There had to be a better way.
The benefits of baby’s drinking their mother’s milk are well known. Research has shown that babies in an NICU are discharged faster and have better health outcomes – including fewer respiratory and GI tract infections – both in the short and long term when they are fed with their mother’s breast milk.
Nurses across roughly 1,100 NICUs nationally spend close to 13,000 hours every year managing breast milk for nearly ½ million babies that require special care in the first months of their lives. These nurses call this activity “bartending” – not feeding, just monitoring, labeling, printing and logging infant-specific nutritional management. For mothers, keeping a full inventory of breast milk can add frustration and stress to an already trying time.
There was a better way, so Keriton was born, committed to making the milk management process easier for everyone involved – the mother and NICU care providers.
The team at Keriton developed an advanced feeding management, lactation analytics and patient engagement platform for NICUs. The system his company developed, Keriton Kare, is a HIPAA-compliant SaaS platform that allows for easy tracking of breast milk inventories and significantly lowers the nurses’ time spent on breast milk management. The system’s end-to-end process automation and validation reduces errors and automatically generates an audit trail for the process. The Keriton Kare platform also aims to improve expression of breast milk in lactating NICU mothers by enhancing their pumping experience, which has been empirically linked to improved clinical outcomes. This is made possible with real-time lactation analytics for proactive intervention and integrated patient engagement tools like secured chat and photo sharing.
Unlike other apps that are available only to mothers or only to nurses, Keriton Kare is the first integrated system that operates on a HIPAA-compliant, secure server, allowing for “process automation”, helping mothers to log and track how much and when they are pumping, and the information is automatically synced with the app on the hospital’s end, allowing providers to smartly track inventory, auto-generated lactation analytics for each mother and provide a means to engage with the patient.
“Logging breast milk manually is time-sensitive and can be inaccurate,” said Rich Mager, CEO of Keriton. “New mothers should be allowed to focus on the well-being of their child – not manually keeping track of the details of when and how they last pumped.”
To ensure the security of the sensitive information communicated through the Keriton Kare app, Keriton worked with Engine Room, a Philadelphia-based IT, cybersecurity and technology consulting firm. “Keriton developed the app,” said Dennis Egen, founder of Engine Room “Our role was to ensure the security of the application and help Keriton build its business by enabling their new product to pass muster with prospective clients – hospital nurses, lactation consultants, nurse managers and IT/IS staff – who needed to know that the app would secure their patients’ valuable data. We needed to ensure that physical, network and process security measures were in place to protect patients’ health information.
“As Keriton was developing the app, we worked with them on an ongoing basis, reviewing their code to make sure it was following best practices and that they were following OWASP (Open Web Application Security Project) guidelines, ensuring HIPAA Compliance. And we conduct annual assessments to ensure the app’s continued security,” Egen concluded.
In the years since the app’s introduction, Keriton has continued to expand its capabilities. Keriton Kare now includes four apps in one:
- Klassify – a real-time dashboard allows lactation nurses to track pumping patterns to identify problems early.
- Konnect – allows lactation consultants to chat directly with new mothers, send reminders about pumping, and answer questions mothers might have.
- Klick – allows nurses to send photos to mothers of their babies at pumping time – studies have shown that seeing the baby improves pumping volumes and lactation.
- Kare – automates inventory management, expiration management, validates every single action on a bottle and auto-generates an audit trail for every bottle.