The NHS England developed an app with the help of doctors, midwives and mothers designed to facilitate pregnant women across the country. The purpose of the app is to allow women with the NHS information on ‘pregnancy, birth and after that’. With the help of this app, more than 100,000 women can access their appointment and health records through a wide range of digital tools.
Why did the need arise for digital maternity apps?
The need for this app arose because the Long Term Plan of the NHS involves the replacement of paper notes with digital services. An important part of this long term plan is to ensure that ‘by 2023/2024, all women can access their information and maternity notes’ with the help of an application through their smartphones and other devices.
The app was first launched as a pilot program in which 100,000 women were offered digital maternity app. The women on the Women’s Digital Care Record can now access their test results, monitor their baby’s movements, keep a diary of their symptoms, and access their pregnancy notes through the gaps.
According to Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, the chief mid-wife officer of the UK, expectant mothers can have more say and information about their pregnancy through digital services. Moreover, she emphasized that it will put more control in the palm of the pregnant woman and give her instant access to her records as well as advice that she needs to look after herself and her baby.
Infact, the electronic records will also allow midwives to provide tailored care for pregnant mothers. The project manager for the digital maternity program, Roger Carter, says that the power of this availability of clinical record through the digital devices is phenomenal. He adds that a safer care for all involved can be ensured with this advancement in digital care.
Currently, there are four digital maternity programs running in the UK for NHS. These include:
- Maternity Digital Maturity Assessment (DMA): the aim of the DMA report is to provide national evidence of digital maturity. Additionally, the report is supplemented by 44 Local Maternity System (LMS) reports. These reports are designed to be used together and help the developers with the local planning for investment and adoption of digital technologies.
- Interoperable Maternity Records: these records are related directly to patient care. It enables all maternity clinical systems to capture information and maintain patient data. It also ensures using a uniform language and standard terminology. The point is to ensure that everyone involved in maternity care has access to the documents, including women themselves. Not only would data be available on the current pregnancy, but previous maternity records would also be available. Thus, healthcare providers, midwives and patients themselves will have access to their paperless, digital maternity records at any time, and can also share these records with other doctors.
- Women’s digital care record: this project supports women and gives them an opportunity to contribute to their record and encourage a greater understanding of the care they receive.
For pregnant women, to have their data on record, and the ability to share it means a great deal.
- Digital toolset: the digital toolset is available to users to improve personalization.
How can digital maternity apps help?
Digital maternity apps like the ones NHS is focusing on can help the healthcare providers and the pregnant women in so many ways:
With the help of digital platforms, and investing in electronic and interoperable maternity records, the administrative burden is reduced in terms of information sharing and recording. Infact, when it comes to information sharing between two hospitals or healthcare providers, the digital records make it infinitely easier. Furthermore, women themselves have access to their records, and comprehensive ones at that.
The focus of the digital records will be to ensure that data is recorded in a uniform language that the patient can also interpret. Thus, these digital tools offered by the NHS will be comprehensive for everyone involved.
The digital records will be accessible to women and patients outside the hospital setting as well. This ensures that women are free to look at their records, consult with other healthcare providers, and receive personalized information. It will also allow women the opportunity to have greater control and understanding of their health and related issues.
A great benefit of this digitalization will be the maximization of the quality time spent between the women and healthcare professionals and ensuring that they have improved communication. This, in turn, will improve the safety of care for the patients and their children.
In the long run, the cost of capturing and sharing information will be reduced, and the quality of data will also improve.
Digital tool can help prevent precautions and transform the care for women and their families. The NHS is supporting the maternity services to provide safe care for the mother and the baby.
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