Virtual care meets moms where they are
Imagine seeing a doctor for prenatal care while you are on vacation or sitting in a grocery store parking lot.
With OB CareConnect, pregnant women are receiving care wherever they are.
While most calls come from home, Malinda Carlile, ARNP -WH, MN, RNC, says it's not unusual to dial in for an appointment and see her patient sitting in a car or on the beach.
"It's all about convenience," Carlile says. "Moms are so busy these days. If they are working and trying to run a household, going to the doctor is one more thing."
OB CareConnect visits take the travel and wait times out of the equation for expectant moms. Visits take place via smartphone, tablet or computer and alternate with regular doctor's office visits during pregnancy. They are scheduled during weeks 12, 16, 24-26, 30 and 34 of pregnancy.
An expectant mom's first visit takes place at her obstetrician's office, where she is equipped with a monitoring kit that includes a baby Doppler heart rate monitor.
"I think everyone is a perfect candidate for virtual OB visits," Carlile says. "If they're working, they can do it on their lunch break. If they have small kids at home, they can do it while the kids are sleeping."
Typical OB CareConnect visits last between 15 and 30 minutes. Patients weigh in and take their blood pressure prior to an appointment. Carlile and the patient dial in at the same time and are instantly connected.
Quality care + convenience
With a 7-month-old baby and another on the way, Clarissa Hughes appreciated the convenience that came with virtual visits through OB CareConnect.
It meant she could skip the drive from Ashford, Wash., to her doctor's office and pick the best time of day for an appointment.
"We live an hour and a half from the doctor's office so it made it really convenient for us," Hughes says. "I could choose when I wanted the appointment and planned it around naptime."
Now home with the newest addition to her family, Hughes says she noticed no difference in the quality of care when comparing virtual visits with office visits during her pregnancy.
"My doctor did a great job managing my care and virtual care was a great supplement," she says. "I felt very comfortable with virtual visits and felt like it was the quality I wanted for myself and my child but with added convenience."
Another option: Virtual lactation services
After new moms go home from the hospital, they can access the breastfeeding support they need via smartphone, tablet or computer with Virtual Lactation Consultations.
"We found a lot of women get home, they're exhausted, baby isn't eating and the last thing they want to do is get in a car and go to the hospital," Carlile says.
The Virtual Lactation Consultations program was designed to give women quick access to support during some of their hardest moments as new moms.
New moms and babies can connect with certified lactation consultants from the comfort and convenience of home. If breastfeeding concerns would be best addressed in person, consultants make referrals to outpatient clinics.
About The Author
Jen Rittenhouse is the social media manager for MultiCare and Mary Bridge Children's Hospital. She writes stories that connect people with hospitals, health care and each other. You can reach her at [email protected].
More stories by this author