Doctors provide prenatal care remotely with app
Claire Richards looks forward to the arrival of her second child. Driving to doctor’s appointments during her pregnancy and missing work as Director of Club Sports at High Point University are another story. Richards is at low risk for complications in her pregnancy. So her obstetrician told her she could use technology to reduce the number of times she needed to drive to MedCenter Kernersville — and receive better care in the process.
The technology is called Babyscripts, and it is offered at three Cone Health practices.
“I wasn’t sure, but I thought I would try it out,” says Richards. She’s happy she did.
For Richards, Babyscripts was surprisingly simple. A “Mommy Kit” containing scales and a blood pressure cuff were delivered to her home — along with instructions to download an app to her phone. Richards weighed and took weekly blood pressure readings. The information was transmitted automatically to her doctor’s office. And because of the close monitoring, she had only 10 instead of 14 office visits.
“Ironically, I can provide better care seeing my patients fewer times,” says Kelly Leggett, MD, Richards’ obstetrician and Chief Clinical Officer for Cone Health. “We want our patients to avoid excessive weight gain and make sure their blood pressure stays within normal limits. With the Bluetooth-connected scales and blood pressure cuffs, patients can be monitored virtually every day if we wanted. We can skip four doctor visits, which is a huge benefit to both working women and stay-at-home moms with busy schedules.”
Allyson Boyette, who delivered her second child, Norma Charlotte, in early February says the apps are very informative. “First-time moms wouldn’t have to Google everything!”
Boyette appreciates Babyscripts, which helped her avoid an 80-minute, round trip drive from Lexington to her doctor’s appointments while Norma Charlotte was developing. Boyette, in fact, is still using Babyscripts.
Leggett says it is used through the sixth postpartum week to monitor mothers for preeclampsia, a serious disease related to high blood pressure.
Beyond positive patient reviews, physicians are pleased as well. Babyscripts has been a pilot project since June 2016. Leggett says she not only found she could provide better care with fewer visits, but that her patients did better. “Our patients in the pilot stayed within the recommended weight gain parameters than those who weren’t in the pilot,” says Leggett. “Proper weight gain leads to fewer complications and healthier babies.”
Cone Health is expanding the Babyscripts enrollment within the three Center for Women’s Healthcare locations at MedCenter Kernersville, MedCenter High Point and Stoney Creek. Leggett is looking to get more patients to use the Babyscripts technology. “Better patient care that is more convenient to the patient. This is great example of the way we are changing care at Cone Health,” says Leggett.