By Hannelore Buckenmeyer
I spend most of my professional time identifying big, important and underlying needs and working to develop scalable, long-term solutions. To do my job well, I have to listen, set my biases aside and resist the urge the make assumptions.
All that being said, I’m a skeptic by nature. When I first heard providers say that they wanted a branded mobile app to answer women’s questions about pregnancy, it was easy for me to assume that they just weren’t aware that the market already had hundreds of pregnancy apps available. After talking to women, I began to appreciate that there truly was a need.
It’s not that the market was lacking mobile apps for pregnancy. It’s that none of them provided women with what they’re really looking for: trusted connections and a single source of truth.
Women use many of the commercial apps available in the market today, like BabyCenter or What to Expect. They like a lot of the bells and whistles that those apps offer. But, women are savvy. They know that advertising-driven solutions need to please their customers first and users second. When women have a clinical question, they may start with a commercial app, but will often invest a significant amount of time with “Dr. Google,” researching other answers. Ultimately, they end up going to the person they trust most for the final say: their provider.
While providers like being the trusted source of information, they are time starved and increasingly burned out. They need to be able to spend their very limited appointment windows talking about pregnancy complications and actions that women need to take, not the risks of eating lunch meat or how long air travel is safe.
In the US, women influence nearly $3 trillion in healthcare spending every year, yet 77 percent of women don’t know what to do to stay healthy. Combine this lack of knowledge and confidence with the reality that navigating the healthcare system is usually a complex and time-consuming process and you can understand why both patients and providers are clamoring for change. To respond effectively to this unmet need, we had to find a way to give women a single source of truth provided by their health system, while allowing providers to practice at top of license.
Our response to this challenge is the focus of an upcoming presentation I’m making at the AHA Leadership Summit in San Diego. I’ll be speaking alongside a partner and colleague from Providence St. Joseph Health. Together, we will share our journey in the mobile health space, specifically addressing gaps in providing support for expectant moms. We will be highlighting lessons learned from the development and deployment of the Circle Women’s Health Platform and the promising future that comes with Wildflower’s recent acquisition of Circle.
If you are planning to attend the AHA Leadership Summit, I encourage you to join our session on Friday, July 27, from 4 – 5:15 p.m. If you are unable to attend the live event, drop us a note and we can schedule a personalized webinar for you and/or your extended team.