Innovative app engages mothers with personalized pregnancy and parenting information
Is my indigestion and heartburn normal at this stage of my pregnancy? How do I get my newborn to latch on properly to breastfeed? What vaccines does my child need, and how can I get a copy of the vaccination records for school?
Let’s face it – moms are busy people, and there are endless health questions that pop into their heads as they drive to work, dart down the grocery store aisles, take their child to soccer practice or rock their newborn to sleep. They don’t have time to call their family physician or OB/GYN with every question, and they shouldn’t have to sift through endless websites to find the right answer.
Enter Circle by Providence, the free pregnancy and parenting app that has answers to moms’ questions about raising healthy kids. The app was designed to deliver relevant provider-approved content, products and services for women, helping them manage their health and the health of their families. It’s also designed to facilitate and nurture the relationship between patients and their physicians.
Moms can use Circle in their providers’ office to answer questions and track goals. Outside the physician’s office, women can use Circle to get instant access to:
- Personalized content about pregnancy, babies and parenting
- Breastfeeding support videos and a guide to local resources
- Health trackers and to-do lists from Providence experts to guide through every stage of pregnancy and motherhood
- A symptom checker for help knowing when to consult a doctor
- Other resources such as listings for classes and groups in PSJH hospitals.
Plus, if moms connect to Providence’s MyChart through Circle, they can also receive appointment reminders for them and their children.
“Circle was designed to function like ‘the doctor in your pocket’ from pregnancy through the teen years, with the intention of giving moms peace of mind with solid information when they’re not in the physician’s office,” said Rebecca Staffel, Circle director of customer engagement.
“It’s all about putting mom at the center of her care, and letting her be in charge of how and when she receives her health information,” she said. “She’s constantly looking at her phone already, so if she wants to look up health information at 2 a.m. when she is breastfeeding her baby, she can. This is truly how you deliver patient-centered care.”
Surveys show that mothers enjoy using Circle’s to-do lists and trackers—especially the vaccine tracker that allows users to export the information and print or email it directly to a school or summer camp, for example. “Moms like that we’re making life easy,” said Staffel.
One iTunes reviewer said, “Love the app so far! The weekly updates about my baby are fun, and I was surprised to find in-depth articles when I dug into the learn section. The diaper tracker helps my addled memory!”
Circle focuses on growing “the daily habit” that drives patient loyalty through personalized consumer engagement. The app drives personalization either by connecting the patient to her electronic medical record or by integrating information that the woman provides about herself and her family. Circle continually adds new information that grows its offering of relevant resources.
With mom’s frequently asked questions answered through Circle, providers are free to focus on individual clinical concerns during appointments.
Circle was developed by Providence’s Consumer Innovation Group in collaboration with in-house clinical specialists. It was initially developed exclusively for the PSJH network of care, but it has since expanded and is offered through other health care systems in the Midwest and Northern California. PSJH’s development team is now in the process of expanding the functionality beyond pediatrics, with the end goal of making the app a “one-stop wellness resource for women at any stage of life,” said Staffel.
The team is also projecting a Spanish-language version of the app and a more personalized experience for mothers of multiples and premature or sick babies staying in the neonatal intensive care (NICU) units, with the understanding that their developmental milestones may be different.
This type of personalized care technology is extremely beneficial to vulnerable populations, Staffel said.
“In the last three months, 31 percent of new Circle users are using Medicaid or some form of government insurance,” she said. “For a mom who may not have the time or the means to take off work, she can look at Circle and try to determine if her child’s symptoms are the result of a cold or the flu, and whether she should stay home and rest or go see her doctor.”
Ultimately, PSJH wants to use Circle to build a long-term, trusting relationship with one of the health network’s most important customers—the hard-working, busy mom, also known as “Chief Medical Officer” in most families.
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