'Babies Online' a Useful Tool for Farflung Families

Chances are, your family is located here 'n' there, all over the state -- all over the country maybe.   That makes it hard to get the word out when there's a big event -  like a new baby. That's why Southeast Hospital's O-B department wants to take all the hassle out of that process with 'Babies Online'.  Samantha is the newest baby of the new year....the only baby born at Southeast on New Year's day.... Family couldn't wait to see her, and they didn't have to...in a matter of hours after her birth, relatives out West, logged onto www.souteastmissourihospital.com/babies, and called up this picture, taken about an hour after her birth. "It's great.  My father lives in Utah, and he was able to see her picture within a few hours.  I have relatives, too in California, and Florida, and they were all able to see Samantha,"  says, Jessica, Samantha's mom.  The Babies Online section of Southeast's web-site is the brain child of hospital Webmaster Joannie Bliss.  "So many people tell me when the baby is born, there just isn't the time to do all that has to be done.  But with the e-mail notification we provide on the web site, you can send it out birth announcements right at the computer to whomever, and it's all done for you,"  says Bliss.  And from a business standpoint, putting babies online is building visits to the hospital website.  "We've had double the number of hits on our website since the Babies Online service started...and from our observations, we can point to exactly this service as the reason," says Bliss.  About 80% of parents are going along with the idea of Babies Online.   The program, now in it's fourth week is fairly simple.   Parents fill out a consent form along with all their other paperwork.  Nurses take the picture after the babies first bath, and Bliss posts the new pictures first thing in the morning, and all day.   "I think it's a great service, and every hospital should consider having something like it," says Jessica, second-time mom.