George Washington University physicians found use of the mobile app Babyscripts reduced in-person prenatal care visits while maintaining patient and provider satisfaction, according to research published in JMIR mHealth and uHealth.
The study included two groups with a total of 88 participants, with one group, prescribed the Babyscripts program to manage their pregnancy. Eligible participants were pregnant women between the ages of 18 and 40 considered to be low-risk: that is, a singleton pregnancy with no previous diagnosis of hypertension, diabetes, renal disease, collagen vascular disease, maternal substance abuse, or other previously documented condition that could potentially lead to a poor pregnancy outcome.
Despite significant differences in the amount of face to face visits with their providers — patients who used the Babyscripts program saw their OBGYN an average of 7.8 times while patients who did not use Babyscripts saw their OBGYN an average of 10.2 times — there was no statistical difference in patient or provider satisfaction in either group.
Kathryn Marko, MD, first author of the paper and assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences echoed these statements: “Prenatal care is one of the most widely utilized preventative health care services, however, there is little research on the effectiveness of standard prenatal care,” said Marko. “We wanted to reevaluate the model for low-risk pregnancies and see if a mobile prenatal app could remove barriers to access and reduce the burden on patients and the health care system.”
In addition to Marko and Meltzer, the GW research team included Nancy D. Gaba, MD, chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology; Nihar Ganju, MD, director of digital health at Advantia Health; Joshua J. Benham, MD, a physician at Sutter West Bay Medical Group; and Lorna M. Richards, MA, clinical research director at Inova Health System.
Babyscripts has spent the last four years building a clinically-validated, virtual care platform to allow OBGYNs to deliver a new model of prenatal care. Using Internet-connected devices for remote monitoring, Babyscripts offers risk-specific experiences to allow providers to manage up to 90% of pregnancies virtually, allowing doctors to detect risk more quickly and automate elements of care.