Collaboration brings maternal health education to new mobile health apps
In a move designed to elevate maternal fetal health in California, Wildflower Health, Care1st Health Plan (Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan effective 1/1/19), and the California Health Care Foundation (CHCF) announced their collaboration to use Wildflower’s mobile health platform to help Medi-Cal families receive better information about pregnancy and birth.
The collaboration will integrate CHCF’s c-section education resources, developed as a part of their new My Birth Matters educational campaign to reduce the overuse of low-risk, first-birth cesareans, with Wildflower’s Family Health app. The focus on reducing low-risk, first-birth c-sections came earlier this year after Covered California, told hospitals to lower their rates of the expensive and higher risk birth procedures or they would be excluded from the in-network hospital rolls.
While C-section births can be necessary and lifesaving in certain circumstances, California has a high average rate of the procedures, at almost 30 percent of births – higher than the federal Healthy People 2020 target of 23.9 percent. And with an average of 500,000 births per year in the state, around one eighth of all U.S. births, making a dent in California’s c-section rate will have impact nationally.
What’s more, the c-section rate varies widely from hospital to hospital across California hospitals. According to CHCF analysis, this indicates that the discrepancy is less a matter of evidence-based medical need, and more a function of lack of education, training, and transparency about mothers’ medical choices. By bringing My Birth Matters information to Care1st’s large and diverse Medi-Cal membership of nearly 500,000 Californians, the collaboration hopes to target populations of mothers and babies who have historically been more vulnerable to adverse birth outcomes.
“We were thrilled when Wildflower reached out to us to explore how they could promote the My Birth Matters resources to more women through their mobile health app,” said Stephanie Teleki, PhD, MPH, director of learning and impact at CHCF. “By incorporating these materials into their offerings, Wildflower is helping to reach more women with important health knowledge that can enable them to make informed decisions about their health.”
The collaboration hopes to demonstrate the power of leveraging technology, knowledge, and connections to patients to improve population health outcomes and lower costs, while increasing quality of care. Explains Care1st Chief Medical Office Tanya Dansky, MD,
“We believe that one of the best ways to reduce health disparities is by making sure that Medi-Cal members and other underserved populations are informed about the risks and choices they have during their pregnancy. That’s why being part of this collaboration is so important to us. It exemplifies the potential for health innovation to reach these populations with information that can improve their health and well-being and the quality of care they receive.”
CHCF’s My Birth Matters resources will also be made available by the end of the year to Care1st providers and consumers through Wildflower’s Due Date Plus for Care1st app.