Monday, February 15, 2010

Better Living Through Technology

Emily and I celebrated Valentine's Day last night at Eggspectations (she loves eggs; I can take them or leave them).

Anyway, needless to say we had a bit of a wait to be seated. Like many fine restaurants, Eggspectations gave us a paging thingy, which went off when they had a table ready for us.

As you know, I'm always looking for ways to send and receive information more efficiently. The restaurant pager gave me an idea: Why not use it for maternity wards?

As I pointed out to Emily, the father may still have things to do, people to see and business to conduct if the mother doesn't want him hanging around the delivery room. (And if she does but he insists on letting his work come first, he'll need to line up a divorce lawyer anyway!)

Either way, the hospital could give him a pager-like device. Instead of multiple blue lights it could have one blue light and one pink light, and the light(s) would flash accordingly (maybe multiple times as needed). Or the hospital could send a text-message alert.

To simulate the joy of being in the delivery room, for a small extra charge the hospital could offer pix messages of the baby and mother. Heck, why not a live webcam, so the father can periodically maximize a window and see how the delivery is going? And with two-way webcams/videoconferencing (available on Skype now, for instance), between emails or blog comments the father can offer occasional encouragement when the mother seems to be tiring.

(In that case, the delivery room webcam and monitor should have a strong plexiglass shield maybe a foot in front of them. And protective clothing for the father himself, once he comes to the hospital, may not be a bad idea.)

Guys who normally drive with your wives in the passenger seat - wouldn't you like to be able to turn the tables?

(And as for those who do stay in the delivery room or the waiting room...I've got two words for the hospitals: Free wi-fi!)

What do you think?

PS: I had a large burger at Eggspectations. And an unexpected splash of pink (an omen, perhaps?) - it seems that when I said "medium rare," they heard me best at the end.


Mama Coyote said...

On the subject of free wifi in the delivery room, I was posting to Facebook when I first got to the hospital and the contractions hadn't gotten too horrible yet :) And I emailed pictures to my mom the next day.

The plan was to use Skype so my best friend, who moved to Japan a few years ago, could watch the delivery, or at least watch me and help encourage me, but the time zones and her work shift and such didn't match up and I didn't manage to get hold of her until after Elijah was born.

I had a cheering section of seven, though--and they were all grateful for the hospital's wifi in the waiting room, for those 36 hours...

Lindsey said...

LOVE the idea of pagers in the maternity ward! I came up with the idea of my daughter who is deaf using a cell phone just to type her order at McDonald's. I'd been looking for tiny tiny word processors and then I noticed texting on phones! PERFECT!
Lindsey Petersen

Mama Coyote said...

Lindsey, have you thought about the iPhone's text-to-speech app?