When Juan Pablo Segura was a child, three of his mother’s nine pregnancies ended in miscarriage. She never got any clear answers from health care professionals why this had happened. These memories stuck with Segura and would later inspire him to create the Babyscripts virtual care app.
Founded in 2014, Washington, D.C.,- based Babyscripts allows providers to deliver maternity care to pregnant mothers at any time, in any place. It’s all possible with the help of a mobile app and remote patient monitoring.
Of course, Babyscripts, is a useful tool during the current COVID-19 pandemic that calls for social distancing and thus reduced in-office doctor visits. But Segura, president and co-founder of Babyscripts, believes this technology can also help reduce maternal mortality rates.
The United States has the worst maternal death rates in the developed world and the numbers are even worse for African American women, who are three to four times more likely than white women to die from pregnancy-related complications.
“The rate of black maternal mortality is even higher in D.C. than in other parts of the U.S., where it is already abysmal,” Segura says. “Being a DC-based company, the challenges of the black community are always front and center in our minds.”
And Segura hopes Babyscripts can address these challenges.
“We developed our solution to help vulnerable populations and knew that remote pregnancy care could address the social and medical barriers that particularly affect the black community and lead to worse maternal outcomes,” Segura says.
Those barriers include access to care, systemic racism, and heightened risk for blood pressure and weight-related complications.
How Babyscripts Works
With Babyscripts, pregnant mothers get access to a mobile app loaded with gestational-age and practice specific educational content. They also receive internet-enabled medical devices, such as a Bluetooth-enabled blood pressure cuff. Patients get access to social and mental health surveys, too.
“Our tools monitor women for elevated risk and alert the provider through a unique trigger alert system to enable risk management and intervention,” Segura explains.
Babyscripts takes the concept of Telehealth a step further. “Telehealth” refers to any healthcare delivered via modern technology such as a video visit. But that doesn’t address the problem of overextended healthcare providers, Segura says.
Babyscripts is an example of remote patient monitoring, which allows patients to capture their own health data and helps providers assist patients through technology.
Babyscripts, for example, can measure blood pressure, weight, and glucose and automatically alert a provider of an issue.
“In a Zoom or FaceTime call, you still need a provider available to have a consultation, which becomes a problem when there aren’t enough providers to field calls and set up appointments,” Segura says.
But with Babyscripts if the system identifies a potential problem, like elevated blood pressure, the patient and provider can connect whether an appointment has been set or not.
“That’s the power of remote patient monitoring,” Segura says. “Automation is how you start to solve the access to care issues we have.”
Babyscripts began and is based in Washington, D.C. But today the company works with more than 50 health systems across the country that manage around 200,000 pregnancies annually. An expectant mother interested in remote patient monitoring should ask her provider if they offer Babyscripts.
Social Determinants and Maternal Health
In addition to health matters like blood pressure, there are also social determinants that can affect maternal mortality rates, too. Factors such as access to healthy food and safe environments must be considered. Babyscripts has stepped up to address these issues as well.
The app uses surveys and a chat feature to identify health and social risks a soon as possible. Then it connects moms to local community resources.
“A good example would be a patient identifying problems with transportation and automatically connecting the patient to a covered rideshare service that is paid by their managed care company,” Segura explains.
A Moon Shot Goal
Segura has a goal, one that he calls his “moon shot” goal. He wants to eliminate blood pressure-related maternal deaths in America by 2025. But he knows Babyscripts can’t reach this goal alone.
He says that government officials and insurance companies must offer aid to providers that are adopting digital health solutions. Providers must let go of outdated ways of practicing medicine, too.
“The recent pandemic has gotten the ball rolling on all of these points and accelerated adoption of remote patient monitoring, but there are still barriers that exist,” Segura says. “Every stakeholder in the space has to be on board to achieve this goal.”