Is the car seat installed properly? How many swaddles are too many? Did we finish washing those onesies?
Expectant parents have a lot on their minds. For mothers who are getting ready to welcome their newborns into the world, they have doctor’s appointments and monitoring that become more frequent as their due dates near. If that mother is at high-risk for any complications, those appointments increase. This is where Babyscripts comes in.
An Idea is Born
In 2018, Dr. Katie Barker, Medical Director of Informatics, Women’s Health at Baystate Health, learned of the Babyscripts app – an informational and educational application that does everything from provide parents updates on their babies’ development in utero to monitor blood pressure. During the pandemic, there was increased risk for expectant mothers, as they required monitoring from their obstetricians but also were encouraged to isolate when possible. Dr. Barker and her colleagues saw a need for a way to remotely monitor blood pressure, especially for those who may be at high risk for preeclampsia, which is persistent high blood pressure during pregnancy and postpartum that can lead to serious issues for both mothers and babies.
The team prescribed blood pressure cuffs that mothers could use at home, but at the time they were not covered by health insurances and it was difficult for mothers to remember what their reading was or decipher whether a reading was high or low. The solution bubbled up for Dr. Barker – an app she had discovered three years earlier: Babyscripts. Patients who were at risk of preeclampsia were mailed a blood pressure cuff that uses Bluetooth to connect the cuff to the app. If a reading was high, their provider would be notified. It took the pressure off the patient and gave providers real-time access to the patient’s data, even when they were not in the office.
She connected with Joe Diver, Director of Digital Transformation, Innovation Strategist at Baystate Health’s TechSpring, who saw the value of this innovative tool and the difference it could have for patients. He knew his team could support the technology side of things, now it was just the financials.
With the increased use of telehealth still developing and insurance companies navigating what elements of that care would be covered, Dr. Barker and her team wanted to find a way to offer this resource to patients without them having to pay out-of-pocket costs. Dr. Barker reached out to Baystate Health Foundation to find a way to support this initiative. Through this partnership, Baystate Health was awarded a grant to expand the program, which Dr. Barker and her team had been running as a pilot up to this point. The grant allowed them to expand their support of patients on the app, including postpartum patients, as 10% of women with no preeclampsia before childbirth develop it after the fact.
Innovation Comes to Life
For patients like Stacey Cagan, Babyscripts was a game changer. She and her husband, Kalman, welcomed their son, Hunter, into the world in August 2021 – five weeks earlier than expected following a complicated pregnancy. Stacey found out she was at risk for developing preeclampsia at 23 weeks and began using Babyscripts to monitor her blood pressure.
“The app absolutely made a difference,” shared Stacey. “It gave me peace of mind. It reduced my stress. It made me feel like I was doing something to help protect my son.”
Stacey also used the app as an educational tool during her pregnancy, providing insight on exercise and nutrition, breastfeeding, what to expect during labor, and stages of development.
In the past year, Baystate Health has enrolled 255 pregnant patients in the program and 208 patients in the postpartum program. As a result of this monitoring, care providers have been alerted to 55 severe-range blood pressures and 112 elevated blood pressures in just three months, allowing the team to act quickly and get the patients the care they needed.
Dr. Barker and Joe agree that these results provide evidence that this innovative tool is providing a life-saving benefit to patients.
“We can see those who engage with remote patient monitoring programs are getting the care they need when they need it,” added Joe.
In addition to creating a direct line to the medical team, Babyscripts provides expectant and new mothers with something more.
“There are various stresses that come along with every pregnancy, but to have a product that helps to reduce that stress is invaluable,” shared Stacey.
Support Prenatal Care
The team is looking to expand access to this app to all prenatal patients. If you’re interested in supporting these efforts, reach out to Baystate Health Foundation at 413-794-5444.