Blog Post

Improving Maternal Health and Wellness with Digital Care Navigation

Blog Post

DJ Stojsavljevic

DJ Stojsavljevic

Industry Solution Architect
Ushur
in

Introduction:

Despite spending more per capita for maternity care than any other nation in the world, the U.S. has higher rates of adverse pregnancy outcomes than any other high-income country. According to the CDC, Maternal mortality has been rising, with nearly 84% of pregnancy-related deaths thought to be preventable. Serious diseases passed to babies during pregnancy, such as congenital syphilis, have also been on the rise. Studies show that timely testing and treatment in the early stages is 98% effective in preventing congenital syphilis in newborns which has been on the rise over the past decade. For example, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) posits that comprehensive care navigation models have the potential to reduce maternal morbidity by up to 50% and maternal mortality by up to 20%. This underscores the importance of implementing innovative approaches, including digital care navigation, to support expectant mothers throughout their pregnancy journey.

The Role of Digital Care Management:

In a healthcare communication landscape facing challenges, members are increasingly preferring digital channels, with 65% favoring SMS text. The next generation of moms and families are more-frequently experiencing new tech-based approaches to improving one’s pregnancy or birthing journey. An effective communication approach for these moms necessitates an omnichannel integration, seamlessly blending various channels for member engagement. 

How can Healthcare Automation Technology Help?

Interactive, HIPAA compliant, PHI protected & HI-Trust certified, secure automation engagement can help mitigate the root causes of adverse pregnancy outcomes and advance maternity care quality, safety, and equity. Healthcare automation solutions like Ushur can create highly relevant and engaging digital self-service experiences for maternal and new baby health that:

  • Empower Expectant Mothers: Digital self-service platforms offer expectant mothers unprecedented access to personalized care and support. Through intuitive interfaces and AI-driven functionalities, these platforms provide invaluable resources tailored to personalized needs. From educational materials to timely reminders and symptom monitoring tools, expectant mothers are equipped with the knowledge and tools to navigate their pregnancy journey with confidence.
  • Enhance Care Coordination: Digital self-service solutions streamline care coordination among healthcare providers, ensuring seamless communication and collaboration throughout the maternity care continuum. This involves digital health needs assessments or HRA’s to surface data that can be leveraged to customize care plan creation and foster relationships with members at a personalized level to achieve healthy outcomes. The focus should be on providing care guidance when the member needs it most, regardless of their social determinants of health (SDOH).
  • Harness Behavioral Data Insights: Data analytics play a pivotal role in driving informed decision-making and improving maternal health outcomes. By aggregating and analyzing vast amounts of health data, AI-powered platforms can identify trends, predict risk factors, and personalize care plans for expectant mothers. This data-driven approach enables healthcare providers to deliver more effective interventions and optimize resource allocation, ultimately leading to better maternal and neonatal health.
Mobile phone screenshot

Improving Access to Care with HIPAA-secure Mobile Outreach and Conversational AI:

Conversational AI is revolutionizing maternal healthcare accessibility by maximizing mobile outreach and engagement. Through AI-powered chatbots and HIPAA-secure mobile engagement, expectant mothers can access personalized support and information anytime, anywhere. These conversational interfaces offer a user-friendly platform for mothers to ask questions, seek guidance, and receive real-time assistance, empowering them to make informed decisions about their health. 

Best Practices to Improve Maternal Access to Care:

  1. Enable Early Detection and Intervention: Encourage regular prenatal check-ups and preventive care to reduce likelihood of chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes and depression. Leverage Health Risk Assessments to identify and address these potential health issues early on, reducing the need for costly medical interventions later in pregnancy.
  2. Improve Benefit Literacy: Educate members on their healthcare benefits and improve understanding and access to the services available to them.
  3. Improve Care Coordination: Enable members with complex medical needs to coordinate care, navigate treatment options, and optimize health outcomes while controlling costs.
  4. Provide Health and Wellness Education: Empower pregnant mothers to take proactive steps to improve their health and reduce the risk of chronic conditions, thereby lowering healthcare costs in the long term. 
  5. Identify Barriers to Care: Utilize Natural Language Understanding (NLU) to detect if a member mentions a barrier to receiving care
  6. Offer Solutions to Barriers: In cases where an issue is identified, automatically respond with information about available resources. For example, offer low or no-cost transportation options if a lack of transportation is mentioned.
Phone screenshot

Improving Maternal Health Equity with Personalized Digital Solutions:

Maternal health disparities persist, disproportionately affecting marginalized communities. To address these inequities, we must prioritize culturally competent and personalized solutions that meet the diverse needs of expectant mothers. According to the CDC, Black mothers face a much higher risk of complications, with 69.9 deaths per 100,000 live births in the US. By understanding social determinants of health, cultural norms, beliefs, and practices, healthcare providers and health plans can tailor interventions and support services to resonate with different cultural backgrounds. By leveraging the ubiquity of mobile devices and the power of AI, we can break down barriers to access, reach underserved populations, and ensure that every mother receives the care she deserves.

Looking Ahead:

As we continue to navigate the digital frontier, the potential for AI and automation to revolutionize maternal healthcare is boundless. By simplifying the touchpoints between health plans, providers, and expectant mothers with intuitive self-service, digital automation solutions can dramatically improve access to personalized prenatal and postpartum care. By embracing innovation and collaboration, we can unlock new possibilities for improving maternal health outcomes and ensure that every mother receives the care and support she deserves. Together, we can forge a future where technology serves as a catalyst for healthier pregnancies, safer deliveries, and brighter futures for all.

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