Memora Health, Mayo Clinic’s digital pilot program to improve postpartum care

The early postpartum period is a critical time. While the period has a huge impact on the health of mothers and babies, health care workers pay less attention compared to the prenatal period and childbirth.

On Thursday, Mayo Clinic announced that it was team up with the San Francisco-based digital healthcare platform Health Memorandum to address this problem. Partners are experimenting with a new text-based program to improve patient health after Mayo’s delivery and have started a research collaboration to measure the model’s effectiveness.

The collaboration is designed to increase patient engagement after delivery between visits without increasing the burden on maternal care teams through automated text messaging.

Memora’s texting-based program will send messages to mothers after giving birth to help guide them in the six weeks following the birth of their baby, sometimes referred to as the fourth trimester. The automated messages will send them reminders on how to take care of postpartum complications, such as breast pain, vaginal tears, or a caesarean section wound. Symptom screening text messages will also be sent, so complications are detected before an adverse event occurs.

The program will also send patients links to educational information on how to best care for their newborn and their body after delivery, according to Manav Sevak, CEO of Memora.

“It’s almost like holding hands throughout 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 messaging on a daily basis, Sevak believes that the program’s approach of sending text messages is an effective way to support patients after giving birth outside the four walls of a hospital or of a clinic. The program will also distribute email and telephone messages to reach patients who may not have access to SMS or prefer another mode of communication.

“Since there aren’t many resources that exist for moms, there are so many different challenges that exist as a result,” Sevak said. “Postpartum depression rates are extremely high in this country. And it’s hard to identify moms who are struggling with certain types of comorbidities – it’s hard to figure out exactly what symptoms they have that are preventable or if they’re struggling with bleeding or something. “

For Sevak, it is imperative that Memora and Mayo work together to closely follow the impact of this initiative. They are working to validate the model and determine if it can prevent postpartum patients from being so underserved, she said.

Memora and Mayo will follow some key metrics to measure the impact of the program. They will first look at how many patients have been identified as having postpartum depression – diagnosing this problem in the six weeks following birth often means it can be treated sooner and not become as severe, according to Sevak.

Research partners will also monitor how many symptoms they report among patients participating in the program, such as excessive bleeding or ongoing body pain. They will analyze this data to see if drawing attention to these symptoms early on was able to create a reduction in emergency room or urgent care visits for postpartum complications, Sevak said.

While analyzing the model, Memora and Mayo will also evaluate how patients felt 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.

Photo: Lisitsa, Getty Images

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