|Jen-Ai Hospital - Dali Introduces Baby Photo Messaging
BY MARK K. CHAN
TAICHUNG, JEN-AI HOSPITAL - DALI
¡@¡@While picking up her daughter,
Kathryn, at the local kindergarten, Rayne Soret's camera phone
made a beeping sound, indicating that she had just received
a Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) message. "Oh my! Heather
has just delivered her baby! Doesn't the baby look so adorable?,"
Rayne showed the picture to her husband, Kevin. "Isn't it amazing
what cell phones can do, nowadays?"
¡@¡@Yes, indeed. The MMS message that she had just received featured
a photo of the newborn baby, a few minutes after he was born,
with the following text attached, "This is Jen-Ai Hospital
Baby Photo Messaging Service! Please welcome Heather & Ciro
Correia's newborn baby, Dylan Connor Amandio Correia! If you
would like to send them an E-card, please go to: http://www.jah.org.tw/english/ecard.asp
or please visit us at: http://www.jah.org.tw/babyweb/english.asp
for additional photos, in the next few days."
¡@¡@Jen-Ai Hospital in Taichung County, Taiwan is claiming to
be the first hospital in the world to introduce this free
service to all parents who have their baby at the hospital.
Celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, the county hospital
is looking for new and innovative ways of reinventing itself
by offering services that are not yet available in hospitals from other parts
of the world.
¡@¡@Mark K. Chan, Program Director of Jen-Ai Hospital International
Patient Center (JAH IPC), explains, "We were the first
hospital in Taiwan to offer our Baby Web service, more than
2 years ago, where a webpage with basic information and picture
of the baby is uploaded onto our hospital website within 72
hours of the birth. But after many hospitals in Taiwan started
to offer this service and receiving several requests to create
the webpage 'as soon as possible' (and we were able to cut the
time down to less than 1 hour), I started thinking that there
must be a faster way to send a photo of the baby to friends
and family members. And the solution was - MMS messages sent
by camera phones."
¡@¡@Chan adds, "Before this project was implemented, friends
and family members needed to wait and visit our hospital website
to see the baby's picture, but with the MMS message, they can
now see the photo almost instantly. With more and more people
owning a camera phone with MMS function, the time is right to
launch this project, so that it will encourage other hospitals
in the U.S., Europe and Asia regions to offer this kind of free
service to all parents who have a camera phone in their respective
countries. But for parents who don't own a camera phone, we
offer yet another service, where the baby announcement is sent
via SMS text messages. All of these services are available,
after obtaining the informed consent forms from the parents."
¡@¡@Designating the 24-hour English Information Hotline number
to the picture phone, the International Patient Center (IPC)
has been utilizing its mobile phone by taking advantage of other
functions such as the Short Messaging Service (SMS) text messages
in taking appointment requests, sending confirmations and reminding
international patients about their medical appointments. Even
telephone interpretation by 3-way calling and conference calls
has been arranged for urgent situations or emergencies.
¡@¡@IPC is also exploring other usages of the MMS functions that
have been employed in other countries, like the U.S., U.K.,
Denmark and Japan, where pictures of X-rays, CT, MRI scans,
injuries caused by car accidents, etc. are taken by camera phones
and sent to specialists in the Radiology or Emergency Departments
for their professional opinion. In fact, IPC has received MMS
messages from its foreign patients with photos of skin rashes,
cuts and bruises, for second opinion from doctors in the Dermatology
and Plastic Surgery Departments.
¡@¡@According to BBC, it was estimated that by the end of 2004,
worldwide camera phone sales reached 159 million, with mobile
phones with built-in camera projected to take up to 70% of the
global handset market in 2008. And in Taiwan, DigiTimes predicts
that 7 million mobile phones are expected to be sold by the
end of this year, with more than half being camera phones. With
the advancement of mobile phone technology, including image
resolution of more than 5 mega-pixels, faster data transfer,
bigger storage capacity, higher zoom capability, etc., various
usages, especially in the healthcare setting, is anticipated
in the near future.