Digital Transformation in Maternity Care: Way Forward to an Advanced Maternal Healthcare System


One of the most significant truths we’ve taken away from the pandemic is how interconnected and shared our human experience is. There is immense growth and awareness of health nowadays, as well as a desire to take personal responsibility for your own health and that of people you live with. The epidemic has demonstrated the critical need for innovative approaches that improve public health through readily available, cost-effective technology. Health technology has been gently but steadily penetrating every aspect of medicine. The year 2020, and the COVID-19 pandemic that came with it, merely accelerated current technology trends in healthcare, compelling most patients and health professionals to use remote patient monitoring, mhealth applications, and digital assistants.

The maternity market is no different. In this domain however, technology is moving at a far slower pace. Midwives allege that maternity services have been disregarded, passed over, or pushed to the back of the line when it comes to digital investment for a long time. They point out that progress has been made, albeit at a considerably slower rate than is necessary.

When pregnancy is the case, every mother is a long-term patient, and to ensure her health during pregnancy and childbirth, considerable human resources or advanced digital support are required. Digital support must be included into all stages of the pregnant journey: prenatal, labour, birth, and postnatal. Electronic medical records that are accessible at any time by both professionals and patients should be the top priority of digital assistance. All aspects of care that women get during their pregnancy should be recorded in electronic records.

  • Healthcare software businesses (hyperlink to IGspectrum’s page) offer digital solutions to easily handle and analyse vast amounts of patient data in addition to electronic records. Every piece of individualised health data should be available in digital form. This step will allow mothers to have a better grasp of their health and discover important information while also increasing the time health workers spend providing direct care.
  • Mobile health (mHealth) described as the use of mobile phones and other wireless technologies to promote the achievement of health goals, such as texting messaging, applications, and video messaging. mHealth services are growing in the field of mother and child health, thanks to the extensive use of digital health care. During pregnancy and early motherhood, more women are turning to internet sources for health information and support. Thousands of maternity and child health-related apps have arisen in the app market and app store specifically to meet the needs of mothers.
  • This isn’t all, though. Women’s experiences throughout pregnancy and birth can be considerably improved with digital assistance. It has the potential to increase the safety of care, improve communication with health professionals, and elevate the level of personalization of care. Women might, for example, fill out individualised care and support plans online, freeing up the time of the midwife while also ensuring that the moms’ individual requirements are met.

For example:

In the UK, following the National Maternity Review, the Maternity Transformation Programme was introduced as a result to improve maternity services across the board. As an important part of the NHS Long Term Plan, by 2024, all paper records will be replaced by digital services. Women will be able to access all maternity related notes and information through their smart phones and other devices.

There are four programmes aimed at digitising maternity care for women in the UK. They are the following:

  • Maternity Digital Maturity Assessment (DMA)
  • Interoperable Maternity Records
  • Women’s Digital Care Record
  • A Digital Toolset

These four programmes have notable goals like ensuring investment in electronic maternity records which will reduce the administrative burden of information recording and sharing, helping women have quick and easy access to digital sources of information, development of a digital tool which collects personal health records and provides real-life care based personalised solutions; and making these solutions available to everyone involved outside of hospital settings. In the long run the aim is to invest in and adopt digital technology in the maternity setting. 

Both patients and health professionals can benefit from digital help. These benefits include, but are not limited to, improved access to health information for all parties involved, a better understanding of the pregnancy experience and emotional support for women, improved communication between mothers and midwives, reduced administrative burden on health workers, and lower health-care costs.

Digital assistance, on the other hand, is not intended to be a replacement for existing health services. There are no plans to bring maternity care into the digital age. Face-to-face meetings exist and will continue to exist. Midwives must still perform exams, check blood pressure, measure the bump, and often provide emotional support to patients in person or over the phone.

All of it needs to be adopted at scale to make a lasting impact. It requires greater education across the board, for both healthcare professionals and patients, on the opportunities that virtual care offers and how to truly maximize the technology to its full potential. When it comes to digital assistance in healthcare and many other disciplines, the golden rule is that patients should employ digital assistance in addition to traditional therapy.

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