Social risks are health risks, and the healthcare industry is acknowledging their importance more and more.

That’s thanks in part to the Covid pandemic, which brought to light underlying structural problems in the system and revealed the close connection between socioeconomic risk and health inequities; and also to the findings of maternal mortality review committees across the country, established to get to the heart of the US’ staggeringly high maternal death rates. 

In Babyscripts’ home city of Washington, DC, residents are at higher socioeconomic risk than the average citizen and access to equitable care has long been an issue. The rate of maternal death is 30.7 deaths to 100K live births, compared to national average of 23.5/100K. While Black mothers make up 50% of births in D.C., they represent 90% of deaths. 

These outcomes are primarily tied to non-clinical risks. In DC, eighty-percent of health outcomes are related to social health determinants, versus 20% related to clinical care. As an urban maternity care desert, access to care is one of the biggest SDoH barriers in DC, especially for Black women. Forty-nine percent of DC’s Black residents live in medically underserved areas compared to 21% across neighboring Maryland and Virginia.  Wards 7 and 8, the areas with the highest concentration of Black residents, have no hospitals — the only hospital serving the region closed its obstetric ward in 2017

These barriers of access drive DC’s higher than average rates of inadequate prenatal care. Twenty-three percent of DC mothers receive inadequate prenatal care compared to the national average of 15.5%, with devastating consequences for preterm birth and low birthweight rates, as well as long term health effects on mother and baby.

As one of the most significant determinants of maternal health outcomes, ensuring that patients attend doctor appointments should be the top priority for leaders looking to close the racial gap in outcomes and improve maternal health across the board. But getting to appointments isn’t always easy if a patient doesn’t have a car or needs to rely on public transportation or friends for a ride. In these scenarios, it takes careful planning and time for a patient to make sure that they can get to a scheduled appointment — and that doesn’t cover emergency scenarios that can’t be planned for.

That’s why Babyscripts is partnering with Lyft Healthcare to provide transportation support via Lyft pass.

Using Babyscripts, patients are prompted to self-identify risks like transportation insecurity through assessments in the mobile app. Based on responses, Babyscripts provides resources to educate the patient and connects them to available benefits to address the risk. Through this partnership with Lyft Healthcare, Babyscripts will identify patients with transportation insecurity and provide them discount codes to cover the cost of a ride with Lyft to and from their doctor appointments. 

The most important aspect of this initiative is in ensuring that recognition of risk is followed by connection to a resource. If transportation insecurity is identified, there is a solution to address that insecurity. This is the approach that Babyscripts has always taken with our risk models and one that is essential to any solution if it’s going to effectively close gaps in care.

In our webinar on Maternal Risk Identification, Adriane Burgess — PhD, RNC-OB, and Director of Perinatal & Neonatal Quality & Patient Safety at the Maryland Patient Safety Center — said this about the difficulties of risk identification in a resource-poor environment:

In [health] systems it's hard because if you're asking questions, you have to have a resource to be able to send someone to. Nothing is worse than risk assessing, getting an answer and not having a place to send someone […] for support. So I think that’s why sometimes people don't assess certain things for risk. [...] It's one of those questions we just won't ask, because I don't know what to do about it if I find out the answer. 

Our commitment at Babyscripts is to ensure that providers can freely identify risk in their patients, knowing that recognition of risk will be met with a response. The opportunity exists to dramatically improve the lives of patients in DC and across the country, if we can empower our providers of care with resources to respond to patient risk.

Q2 2024 Webinar (Twitter Post)

Interested in learning more about Babyscripts' model for risk recognition and response? Join Babyscripts and the Privia Health team for our webinar Recognition & Response for Comprehensive Patient Care on June 5 at 12PM ET. Learn how the Privia team leverages their custom workflows, assessments and integration for seamlessly incorporating risk recognition and response into their maternity care workflow. Plus, Babyscripts offers a look into their new partnership model that provides intervention support for risks across the maternity care spectrum through assessment and referral.


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