By Jennie Echols

At more than $100 billion a year, maternity and newborn care is the No. 1 driver of hospital charges in the United States, according to data from the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Many of the costs associated with pregnancy complications, like pre-term births and C-sections, can be avoided by early intervention. Smartphone apps use ever-more ubiquitous mobile technology to help women monitor their pregnancies, and to allow health practitioners provide better care at lower cost benefits.

The state of Wyoming is offering a pregnancy smartphone app to its Medicaid members to engage patients and improve care. Through a partnership with Wildflower Health, Xerox is helping the state deliver a first-of-its-kind pilot program so that pregnant women can get health advice delivered straight to their smartphones, and access healthcare services offered by Medicaid.

“Smartphone apps … help women monitor their pregnancies, and allow health practitioners  to provide better informed care that results in empowered clients and improved health outcomes..” – Jennie Echols, Ph.D., R.N., program director of Care and Quality Solutions for Xerox

“Smartphone apps … help women monitor their pregnancies, and allow health practitioners to provide better informed care that results in empowered clients and improved health outcomes..” – Jennie Echols, Ph.D., R.N., program director of Care and Quality Solutions for Xerox

We chose Wildflower’s Due Date Plus for Wyoming because it is the only pregnancy app that links patients and their clinical information with community resources. The app collects data that can be shared with care managers and nurses in real-time, using a click-to-call access to nurse support, and it enables access to other Wyoming health resources and programs.

In a rural state like Wyoming, people use cell phones all the time, so a phone-based program that helps women connect with Wyoming’s Medicaid and healthcare programs is especially helpful. Wyoming’s Medicaid Medical Director, Dr. James Bush, says the app helps his department support pregnant women while addressing complications such as preterm birth and C-sections.

Dr. Bush notes more than 41 percent of pregnancies in his state are paid through Medicaid, and the rate of premature births is in the state is 10.8 percent. The program has the potential to be win-win for everyone.

This article includes excerpts from “Wyoming Pilots Pregnancy Mobile Solution” that was published in HealthFocus, a newsletter from Xerox Government Healthcare Solutions. To subscribe to a hard copy version, please send your postal address to govhealthcare@xerox.com