Prenatal care smartphone apps have been shown to decrease the number of in-person clinic visits while maintaining satisfaction among patients with low-risk pregnancies, according to a new study.
Researchers at George Washington University sought to test the effectiveness of mobile prenatal care applications which have demonstrated a safe reduction in office visits but have been found to provide lower levels of patient satisfaction, investigators wrote in the JMIR mHealth and uHhealth. According to researchers, the application of mobile phone technology has been shown to improve disease management for diabetes self-care activities, HIV infection medication adherence, and sickle cell anemia medication adherence.
To test their hypothesis, they studied a group of 88 women with low-risk pregnancies by dividing them into two groups. Half of the women received typical prenatal care with an average of 10 office visits. The other group used the app Babyscripts, which provided a combination of educational content and monitored weight and blood pressure information and alerted patients and their providers if hypertension or abnormal weight gain was observed.
According to study results, the group using Babyscripts had significantly fewer prenatal care visits. Additionally, patient satisfaction measured over several intervals demonstrated no difference in satisfaction between the experimental and control group.
“A mobile health app that targets pregnant women may facilitate the integration of prenatal care into other aspects of their family and professional life. In addition, pregnancy is a unique period of life when healthy behaviors including exercise, diet, and sleep take on greater importance,” investigators wrote. “As such, women are highly engaged with their health care decisions during pregnancy and may be more receptive to educational programs that can be delivered through a mobile health app.”
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