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Skype from Maternity Ward: A Winning Concept for Healthcare and Hospital Public Relations

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer
baby and computer

Skype in the delivery room

If this is a trend, we like it.

Bringing Skype—or other video chat—into the hospital delivery room is a hospital public relations opportunity that’s likely to win friends and goodwill in the community.

The “internet birth” news that caught our attention last week told the story of a baby being born at the Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital. Mother and baby were in Brockton (MA), and the father was serving in Afghanistan. (FYI: Massachusetts and Afghanistan are about 6,568 miles apart with an 8 hour time difference.)

Let’s put institutional policy and HIPAA issues aside and enjoy the moment. In this case, mother, hospital, doctors, father, and the father’s commanding officer all signed-off on this idea months in advance. By bringing Skype into the delivery room, the overseas father was able to witness the birth and be part of the blessed event.

Everyone in this story liked the idea and it’s a fresh concept for hospital public relations and publicity. Plus, the use of other communications technology is growing. It’s common for family and friends to see newborn pictures using Facebook and other online social platforms.

Live video isn’t routinely used at the Brockton Maternal-Newborn Pavilion, but the concept may gain traction in the US and Europe. Skype (the company) reports that video-enabled hardware is available in the maternity wards of several hospitals in Poland, Estonia, Spain, Italy, and Germany. Building on this idea, one-to-one video is also available in Europe to support patients on children’s wards, and for video calling to new mothers after returning home.

If you know of other uses of internet video in healthcare marketing please share them with us. It’s an idea we’d like hear more about.

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