The early postpartum period is a critical time. Although the period has a huge impact on the health of both mothers and newborns, health professionals pay less attention to him from the prenatal and delivery period.
In Thursday, Mayo Clinic declared it to be so teaming up with a San Francisco-based digital health platform Memora Health to address this issue. The partners are piloting a new text-messaging-based program to improve the health of postpartum patients at Mayo and have entered into a research collaboration to measure the model’s efficacy.
The collaboration aims to increase postpartum patient engagement between visits without increasing the burden on maternal care teams through automated text messages.
Memora’s text-based program will send messages to postpartum mothers to help guide them through the six weeks after their child’s birth — sometimes called the fourth trimester. Automated messages will send them reminders about how to care for postpartum complications, such as sore breasts, vaginal tears or a C-section wound. Symptom screening text messages will also be sent so that complications are caught before an adverse event occurs.
The program will also send patients links to educational information about how to best care for their newborn and their body after birth, according to Memora CEO Manav Sevak.
“It’s almost like you’re holding their hand through the whole process and the care plan they’re going through,” Sevak said in an interview. “It’s conversational, so patients can respond to messages and ask questions.”
Since most people use text messages on a daily basis, Sevak believes the texting program’s approach is an effective way to support postpartum patients outside the four walls of a hospital or clinic. The program will also use emails and phone messages to reach patients who may not have access to text messages or prefer another method of communication.
“Because there aren’t a lot of resources that exist for mothers, there are so many different challenges that exist as a result,” Sevak said. “The rate of postpartum depression is extremely high in this country. And it’s a challenge to identify mothers who are struggling with certain types of co-morbidities — it’s a challenge to understand exactly what symptoms they have that are preventable, or if they’re struggling with bleeding or something like that.
For Sevak, it is imperative that Memora and Mayo work together to closely monitor the impact of this initiative. They are working to validate the model and determine whether it can prevent postpartum patients from remaining so underserved, he said.
Memora and Mayo will track some key metrics to measure the program’s impact. They will first look at how many patients are identified as suffering from postpartum depression — diagnosing this problem in the six weeks after birth often means it can be treated earlier and not become as severe, according to Sevak.
Research partners will also track how many symptoms they flagged among patients in the program, such as excessive bleeding or persistent body pain. They will analyze this data to see if early attention to these symptoms was able to reduce emergency room visits or urgent care for postpartum complications, Sevak said.
When analyzing the model, Memora and Mayo will also assess how patients feel about the program. They will look at metrics such as engagement rates, how many messages patients responded to, and whether the program affected patient adherence to follow-up visits.
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