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Birthing Babies: When Healthcare and Streaming Technology Collide

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

VR birthIs this a healthcare or hospital promotional idea here that you can use?

Techno-Baby Example One: Somewhere between human-interest “blessed event” and worldwide “product promotion,” Samsung scored worldwide publicity for its Gear VR (virtual reality) headset, with headlines like: World’s first live-streamed, virtual reality birth and Father attends birth of his son from 4,000 km away.

Media coverage included The Sydney Morning Herald, The Washington Post and scores of others. Additional PR beneficiaries included St. John of God Mt. Lawley Hospital in Perth Australia, proud parents Alison and Jace Larke, and newborn son, Steele.

Samsung Gear VR baby birth

At Forbes.com, John Archer wrote: “[A] remarkable event in Australia has just delivered a poignant reminder of how VR could also have a dramatic effect on our day to day real lives by effectively letting us be in two places at once. By wearing the headset at his location in the remote Queensland mining town of Chinchilla, Jace was able to witness live the birth in distant Perth of his latest son Steele ‘almost as if he was in the room’ with his wife.”

Techno-Baby Example Two: Closer to home, and far more spontaneous, is the news item about a New Jersey doctor helped deliver a baby via Apple’s FaceTime. The media splash for OB/GYN Meena Devalla and mother Keyanna Rivera extended to both sides of the pond, including these notes from the UK’s DailyMail.com:

FaceTime baby

“A doctor helped to deliver a baby over FaceTime after a mom went into labor unexpectedly. Keyanna Rivera visited her doctor's office in Newark, but her doctor Meena Devalla, was a few miles away at Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville finishing surgery. But Ms. Rivera went into labor and began to give birth to Raphael. The office manager grabbed her iPhone and Ms Rivera's husband held it up to the staff at the office.”

The technology is newer, but these recent news and PR examples are updates to a hospital promotional idea that’s been around for a while. Streaming virtual reality and FaceTime were not nearly as common five years ago when we wrote about: Skype from Maternity Ward: A Winning Concept for Healthcare and Hospital Public Relations.

Not surprisingly, babies always seems to get traction with the media. Is this a healthcare or hospital promotional idea here that you can use -- or have used in the past. Please tell us about it.

Janet Bowden

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