Eighty-four percent of maternal deaths are preventable. Let that number sink in. 

Much of that statistic is driven by a lack or mishandling of risk identification. Women with pregnancy-related health complications may not always recognize the early warning signs of their illness -- even when they do, the providers may miss or cause a delay in diagnosis, which can lead to more serious or even deadly consequences. 

Risk identification models present an enormous opportunity for addressing these preventable deaths, but they are not enough on their own to reverse these poor outcomes. There needs to be a system in place to close the loop on a risk once it is identified -- otherwise, a risk id can feel more like a liability than a solution.

By connecting all stakeholders through a single digital ecosystem, Babyscripts addresses this potential liability. All stakeholders can input and access patient data through the ecosystem, and can make better-informed decisions to improve quality of care. With data analysis tools, Babyscripts has the ability to sift through these inputs and surface actionable data to the appropriate member of the care team, closing the intervention loop by providing the necessary follow-through.

[Read: To improve maternal health outcomes, we need collaborative care]

Imagine that a patient comes into an OB appointment and records a blood pressure reading outside the recommended thresholds. The OB might give them some literature and advice on managing BP, and instruct the patient to self-monitor their BP from home, but their reach is limited — the OB can’t necessarily discover or address all of the factors that might contribute to high blood pressure: unhealthy eating habits, stress factors, lack of exercise, white coat syndrome, etc. 

When that data is inputted into Babyscripts, it becomes available to every stakeholder with access to the program, and can activate a targeted response. For example, many health plans have benefits to support their members, but identifying eligible members is difficult with care silos. A digital health ecosystem can automatically identify eligibility, and direct patients to the services available to them through their health plan as soon as their BP is recorded, such as nutrition counseling, fitness coaching, or meal assistance. 

This doesn’t solve the lack of human resources to support these interventions, but technology can assist there as well. There is a vast network of digital health tools specifically designed to address risk asynchronously at scale, with limited human oversight. These tools can be integrated into the ecosystem to facilitate interventions and remove some of the need for human support. 

Imagine the above example, but in this scenario the patient doesn’t make it to the OB appointment because they live too far away from the clinic or they can’t take the time off of work. Without identification, the risk that could have been treatable will worsen until it becomes a costly and potentially permanent issue with long-term health consequences for patient and baby. 

Now give this patient an internet-connected blood pressure cuff integrated with the Babyscripts program. In this scenario, the BP data is still captured, and the response protocol can be activated, even without an in-person visit. Through Babyscripts, they can be connected to digitally supported interventions or management programs, sidestepping the barriers of access that led them to miss their appointment in the first place. 

While a digital ecosystem might not be able to recreate the tangible sense of social safety intrinsic to a community; we can replicate its essence. By creating a unified digital ecosystem that connects all stakeholders, including healthcare providers, payers, and patients; we can bridge communication gaps, automate interventions, and deliver a more holistic, responsive, and communal approach to maternity care.

[Read: Why Patient-Centric Care is Critical for Outcomes (And What It Really Means)]

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