Swedish/Issaquah introduces OB speed dating

September 6, 2011

By David Hayes

When Christie Malchow and her husband moved to Sammamish recently from Kirkland, they needed to find another OB/GYN for their second child.

“I didn’t want to drive to back to Kirkland when we had a new hospital right here” said Malchow, 38.

The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. Malchow said she learned of a new program from Swedish/Issaquah during a stop at an information booth at a public event at City Hall — OB speed dating.

On Aug. 16, Swedish/Issaquah gathered nine of its doctors in one location — the new Café 1910 — and 17 couples attended, each getting five minutes with each doctor. The parents ranged from just looking, to those expecting their first and second babies.

If you go

OB Speed Dating

Dr. Jane Uhlir, Swedish’s executive director of the Women’s and Infants and Pediatric Specialty Care service lines, had heard on the radio about a similar event in Texas to help parents find a pediatrician. She thought that would be the perfect setting for mothers and prospective mothers to find an OB/GYN the same way.

“Hospitals traditionally schedule a one-hour meet and greet for patients and perspective doctors,” Uhlir said. “That’s a big commitment of time of a doctor’s day. The speed dating is a better way to get information out more quickly.”

Uhlir said the first session was considered a success, as at least four of the couple — including the Malchows — found the right doctor for them.

“This was a unique opportunity to physically speak face to face with several doctors,” Malchow said. “It was better than throwing a dart at a dart board.”

In addition to meeting perspective doctors, Uhlir said the sessions offered a tour of the hospital’s services and provided educational material for both parents and grandparents.

She added that with today’s sophisticated parents, the participants came armed with good, quality questions to help them narrow their choices.

In addition to having something similar at its open house Oct. 23, Uhlir said the hospital plans to have future speed dating sessions about every six months, based on attendance and need. She added it’s also offered at Swedish’s First Hill, Edmonds and Ballard locations.

“The initial reaction is parents are really surprised. ‘OB speed dating? What are you talking about,’” Uhlir said. “But they quickly find it’s fun, it helps build the community and family connection between them and their hospital, and they’ve been quite pleased.”

Malchow said she’d definitely recommend prospective parents give the program a try.

“I would absolutely recommend speed dating to others,” she said. “It’s a fabulous marketing idea. I don’t think there’s a better way of finding them than talking to several doctors in a five-minute timeframe.”

David Hayes: dhayes@isspress.com, 392-6434, ext. 237. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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