For the past year, expectant mothers seeing WellSpan Health obstetricians have had the option to reduce their doctor visits through a service offered by a Washington D.C.-based tech company.
Babyscripts, a pre-natal care app, that allows doctors to hold virtual visits and remotely monitor their patients’ blood pressure via a Bluetooth-connected cuff, went into use at WellSpan last spring. The health network was chosen to be the first in the state to also offer the product to Aetna’s Medicaid members.
Previously only offered through commercial health insurances, Phoenix-based Aetna Better Health now covers Babyscripts products for patients with Medicaid.
With Babyscripts’ products, doctors can provide blood pressure cuffs to their patients that send a patient’s readings directly to them. The patient can also make use of the app as an educational tool that offers information on common pregnancy questions.
The data sent to a patient’s doctor, along with the remote visits and educational information, make it easier for doctors to decrease face-to-face meetings with a patient, while maintaining the same level of care, said Juan Pablo Segura, co-founder of Babyscripts.
That time saved can be particularly important for patients on Medicaid who may have trouble finding transportation to a facility, or can’t afford to take the time off of work.
“Babyscripts gives us the technology to stay more connected with our patients,” said Dr. Jessica Wirth-Tocks, OB/GYN for WellSpan Health. “If there is an abnormal value, we are quickly notified and able to expedite a further work-up for these patients.”
By working with Aetna to get expectant mothers on Medicaid to use the products, the organizations are trying to increase engagement between patients and their doctors and the rate at which the patients go to their scheduled doctors’ visits.
“We are all becoming more of a digital society, people are more inclined to text or talk,” said Stephanie Ledesma, Chief Operating Officer at Aetna Better Health of Pennsylvania. “So, if you have that portal or app, perhaps it feels less intrusive. This may feel like a better alternative than going into the doctor’s office every time.”
Providing a service like Babyscripts through an insurance provider and directly to the health care facility is not a common model in pregnancy care, but it is one that will help eliminate issues with medical care access, said Segura.
“We know that collaboration between stakeholders and strategic ecosystems is key to improving outcomes, and this partnership with Aetna is a huge step on the path to eliminating access issues for vulnerable populations,” he said.