For an industrialized nation, the U.S. has a staggering number of pregnancy-related deaths. Tragically, 700 women die each year due to complications from childbirth, with black women affected more than other groups. And the number is growing: The maternal mortality rate rose 26% from 2000 to 2014. Perhaps the most alarming fact is that over 50% of these deaths are found to be preventable. The healthcare community must come together to improve maternal health and eradicate these preventable maternal deaths.
In December, the bipartisan “Preventing Maternal Deaths Act” was signed into law authorizing federal funding for maternal mortality review committees (MMRCs), local health experts who study individual maternal death cases. This important legislation is significant because it demonstrates that the federal government is finally committed to supporting MMRCs – which already exist in ~30 states – and to funding data-sharing infrastructure.
Once states are able to share information with each other, they can identify locally relevant strategies to support improvements in health care delivery, public health solutions, and ultimately, savings to the health care system. They can recommend solutions that will reduce preventable maternal deaths, improve the health and safety of pregnant women, and save families from devastating losses by investing in local programs.
But will this work? To see viable results, we can look to California, an early pioneer in the use of committees and recommendations to reduce maternal deaths. Thanks to the initiatives of the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative (CMQCC), and its partnerships, the state saw a 55% reduction in the rate of maternal deaths from 2006-2013.
What Can We Do in the Meantime?
Finally, we can utilize wrap-around tools that deliver the right support for healthier pregnancies:
- Early identification of health issues that can cause high-risk pregnancies. Making it easier for moms to connect to preferred providers encourages them to see their OBs earlier and more often.
- Risk stratification to ensure that every individual receives the most appropriate level of care. Utilizing trusted technology that is secure, cloud-hosted, and HIPAA-compliant can help reduce pregnancy complications like preterm delivery, low birth weight, C-sections, and hospital readmissions.
- Decision support to encourage preventive health actions. Providing expectant moms and their partners with tools for maintaining healthy behaviors during pregnancy and education around the decisions they control, like choosing their hospitals or requesting fewer C-sections.
- Adherence and compliance with care plans, appointments, and prescriptions – Delivering smart mobile tools that include calendars and reminders to keep moms healthy throughout their pregnancies.
By linking expectant moms to the right internal and external resources, we can create healthcare connections that last a lifetime.
We Know Mobile Works
Mobile technology is proven as a platform for managing high-risk pregnancies. A peer-reviewed Medicaid study showed a 73% decrease in low-birth weight births and a 22% improvement in key HEDIS measures in moms using the WYhealth Due Date Plus pregnancy app, produced for Wyoming Medicaid by Wildflower Health. Analysis also found an association between use of the Wildflower app and lowered incidence of low-birth weight delivery. A Medicaid member was estimated to be only 25% as likely to have a low-birth weight baby if she was an app user.
At Wildflower, we’re dedicated to delivering mobile solutions that reduce maternal complications, prevent infant health issues and keep families happy and healthy. To find out more about how our mobile application can enable effective management of high-cost conditions, contact us here.