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.

Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer at Healthcare Success
Stewart Gandolf, MBA, is Chief Executive Officer of Healthcare Success, one of the nation's leading healthcare and digital marketing agencies. Over the past 20 years, Stewart has marketed and consulted for over 1,000 healthcare clients, ranging from practices and hospitals to multi-billion dollar corporations. A frequent speaker, Stewart has shared his expertise at over 200 venues nationwide. As an author and expert resource, Stewart has also written for many leading industry publications, including the 21,000 subscriber Healthcare Success Insight blog. Stewart also co-authored, "Cash-Pay Healthcare: Start, Grow & Perfect Your Cash-Pay Healthcare Business." Stewart began his career with leading advertising agencies, including J. Walter Thompson, where he marketed Fortune 500 clients such as Wells Fargo and Bally's Total Fitness.



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