Federally Qualified Health Centers provide a crucial safety net for the under resourced. But despite their critical role in population health, they face many challenges to care delivery. The Women's Health team at Variety Care joined Babyscripts to discuss their strategies -- and explain why they're betting on digital health. 

Dr. Karen Sargent, MD, FACOG, and Director of Women's Health at Variety Care and Nicole Bumpus, RNC-OB, RN Clinical Lead, and Women's Health at Variety Care joined the Babyscripts team for a discussion on the challenges and opportunities in maternal digital health at FQHCs; including engaging a diverse patient population and driving enrollment across sites. 

Anish Sebastian, CEO of Babyscripts, began the conversation with an overview of the evolving landscape of maternal health care.

He highlighted how the industry has shifted from merely recognizing problems to actively engineering solutions; including policy changes, innovative care models, and the integration of technology.

One of the most significant signs of this shift comes from the federal government. The White House's Blueprint for Maternal Health has spurred initiatives from CMS and HRSA including new reimbursement codes and grant opportunities to specifically address issues facing Medicaid enrollees. These initiatives support a more comprehensive model of maternal care instead of focusing on one or two isolated risks; incorporating payers, healthcare teams and systems to support a holistic approach to maternal healthcare, and are more expansive than similar past initiatives. 

As Anish mentioned, these policy initiatives reflect what’s happening on the innovation side: a push for a digital health ecosystem model that connects stakeholders to deliver holistic care that addresses social health determinants as well as clinical risk.

[Read more: CMS introduces new Transforming Maternal Health (TMaH) model to support equity and access for Medicaid births]

Nicole and Dr. Sargent then joined Anish to discuss their experience implementing digital health at Variety Care, an Oklahoma-based FQHC. Serving a high volume of diverse patients (67% of Variety Care's patient demographic are Hispanic or Latinx), with limited staff and funding, Variety Care uses Babyscripts to empower their patients and staff to deliver more efficient, quality care while containing costs.  

Creative Use of Available Resources 

To aid enrollment in and awareness of Babyscripts, Variety Care empowers triage nurses with knowledge of the solution. When a patient calls in with a question or sends a myChart message, whether its a medical question or a support request, the triage nurse will refer patients to Babyscripts for vetted-medical guidance or help troubleshoot issues, enhancing patient support and reducing clinic workload. To maintain staff awareness and patient engagement with Babyscripts, the Women's Health team at Variety Care employs various strategies; including signage in exam rooms with QR codes for easy access to the app, regular discussions about Babyscripts in meetings and emails, and monthly statistical updates to drive enrollment and implementation efforts across their various clinic sites.

[Read more: FQHCs and RHCs can now bill for remote monitoring]

Focus on Postpartum Engagement

At many of the Variety Care clinics, there is a drop off in engagement in the postpartum period -- a persistent problem across maternity populations but especially for the under resourced. Staff at Variety Care use to Babyscripts to actively improve utilization during this period, including updating postpartum resources on the app and launching email and text campaigns to remind patients of its availability for up to a year after delivery. Recognizing the diverse demographics they serve, they ensure content is translated into Spanish and are working with Babyscripts to incorporate other languages.

Promoting Quality Improvement Initiatives

One of Variety Care's goals for Babyscripts is to deliver equitable care and promote quality measures, such as low-dose aspirin adherence for blood pressure management. They've leveraged Babyscripts' content pathways feature, which employs a smart algorithm to send personalized notifications and content to patients based on their specific needs, such as risk factors for preterm birth or plans for breastfeeding and infant nutrition. The messaging, which is highly targeted and varies based on patient information, is part of a broader strategy to engage patients through various channels, including SMS, which has shown strong engagement rates. This approach leverages the fact that patients carry phones with them, providing an opportunity to deliver valuable health information directly and efficiently, aiming to maximize engagement and improve health outcomes.


Variety Care faces unique challenges as an FQHC in Oklahoma (a reminder of the complexities introduced by different state Medicaid requirements). Oklahoma is set to transition to managed care in April, impacting operations and patient load. Efforts are underway to increase provider schedule access amidst uncertainty and operational adjustments. With approximately 12,000 Medicaid-covered patients, the shift to managed care raises concerns about coverage continuity and service provision. Additionally, a significant portion of patients lack insurance. Funding uncertainties, reliant on government budgets, are a perpetual concern for Variety Care, a careful consideration when they chose to partner with Babyscripts. 

Any time that we're looking at a partnership with any resource, you know, one of the things that we look at and determine is making sure that we can see a long-term ROI, like a return on our investment, and we have already surpassed that significantly with our partnership with Babyscripts.
Karen Sargent Variety Care

Dr. Karen Sargent, MD, FACOG, Director of Women's Health at Variety Care


Another major challenge for Variety Care involves time and workflow management, vital for expanding patient access without sacrificing care quality. Babyscripts has been a critical piece of their strategy to optimize workflows and educate patients pre-appointment to enhance appointment efficiency. This multifaceted approach addresses economic pressures, maximizes resource utilization, and maintains high-quality patient care amid significant operational changes.

To hear more of the conversation, view the webinar recording, and visit Babyscripts for Federally Qualified Health Centers to learn more about our work with FQHCS.



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