A new research published in Telemedicine and e-Health shows that Medicaid patients who used mobile maternity app, WYhealth Due Date Plus, were significantly more likely to have a first trimester prenatal visit, and experienced reduced incidence of low-birth weight babies. The study followed a cohort of 85 pregnant app users with verified Medicaid IDs and 5,158 pregnant non-app users with delivery outcome records in Wyoming Medicaid.
The results, announced by Wyoming Department of Health and Wildflower Health, suggest that the use of Wildflower's app was associated with a statistically significant increase in the completion of prenatal visits at least 6 months before delivery — an important HEDIS measure and milestone in ensuring a healthy pregnancy and delivery. A Medicaid member was estimated to be 76% more likely to have a 6-month or more prenatal visit if she was an app user.
Analysis also found an association between use of the app and lowered incidence of low-birth weight delivery, which increases the risk for short-term and lifelong health conditions including diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and obesity. A Medicaid member was estimated to be only 25% as likely to have a low-birth weight baby if she was an app user.
Engagement rates among users were high, with significant adoption among Medicaid providers and the pregnant population. During the study period, over 1,730 people downloaded the application. On average, registered Medicaid users visited the app 6.4 days per month.
The WYHealth Due Date Plus app is designed to engage pregnant women early and often with clinical information on common pregnancy symptoms and key health milestones. It also connects users to information on Wyoming Medicaid benefits and community wellness resources such as the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program and the Wyoming Quit Tobacco Program.
"This study demonstrates that mobile maternity applications can positively influence people's decisions to attend early prenatal appointments and improve their connections to healthcare resources," said Dilek Barlow, MA, study co-author and Director of Client Services at Wildflower Health. "Moreover, it shows that Medicaid populations can be highly engaged with digital tools that have the potential to greatly improve outreach and education in this population."
Authors of the study include: James Bush, MD, FACP, Dilek Barlow, MA, Jennie Echols, PhD, MSN, RN, Jasmine Wilkerson, MS, and Katherine Bellevin, MA.