Benefits of digital technology in maternity services

A new report shows for the first time how digitally ‘savvy’ maternity services in England are – and aims to drive up the better use of technology | NHS Digital

The majority of maternity providers are making a good start at using digital technology, according to the Maternity Digital Maturity Assessment report, produced by NHS Digital.

Greater use of digital technology will help maternity staff and services to provide better care for patients and more effectively use resources.

All 135 maternity providers completed an assessment of their progress in adopting digital technology, such as providing electronic health records, sharing information digitally and giving patients access to online resources. The assessment also looked at how much investment was being made in software, equipment and infrastructure.

Providers were assessed according to their level of digital maturity with the results helping organisations identify their strengths and gaps in the use of digital services and highlighting common challenges faced by maternity providers and potential solutions which could help them improve their digital maturity.

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Recommendations include encouraging greater collaboration, so that the more digitally mature maternity providers share their expertise with the handful who had low maturity levels. The report also reinforces important messages around the need to identify and support digital leaders at all levels throughout maternity services.

Full detail: Insight into digital uptake in maternity services aims to bring benefits of technology to mums | NHS Digital

Full report: Maternity Digital Maturity Assessment report | NHS England

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Comparative study analysing women’s childbirth satisfaction and obstetric outcomes across two different models of maternity care

Ferrer, M.B.C. et al. BMJ Open. Published online: 26 August 2016

Objectives: To describe the differences in obstetrical results and women’s childbirth satisfaction across 2 different models of maternity care (biomedical model and humanised birth).

Setting: 2 university hospitals in south-eastern Spain from April to October 2013.

Design: A correlational descriptive study.

Participants: A convenience sample of 406 women participated in the study, 204 of the biomedical model and 202 of the humanised model.

Results: The differences in obstetrical results were (biomedical model/humanised model): onset of labour (spontaneous 66/137, augmentation 70/1, p=0.0005), pain relief (epidural 172/132, no pain relief 9/40, p=0.0005), mode of delivery (normal vaginal 140/165, instrumental 48/23, p=0.004), length of labour (0–4 hours 69/93, >4 hours 133/108, p=0.011), condition of perineum (intact perineum or tear 94/178, episiotomy 100/24, p=0.0005). The total questionnaire score (100) gave a mean (M) of 78.33 and SD of 8.46 in the biomedical model of care and an M of 82.01 and SD of 7.97 in the humanised model of care (p=0.0005). In the analysis of the results per items, statistical differences were found in 8 of the 9 subscales. The highest scores were reached in the humanised model of maternity care.

Conclusions: The humanised model of maternity care offers better obstetrical outcomes and women’s satisfaction scores during the labour, birth and immediate postnatal period than does the biomedical model.

Read the full article here

Usage, adherence and attrition: how new mothers engage with a nurse-moderated web-based intervention to support maternal and infant health. A 9-month observational study

Sawyer, M.G. et al. BMJ Open. 2016. 6:e009967

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Objectives: To identify factors predicting use, adherence and attrition with a nurse-moderated web-based group intervention designed to support mothers of infants aged 0–6 months.

Design:9-Month observational study.

Setting: Community maternal and child health service.

Participants: 240 mothers attending initial postnatal health checks at community clinics who were randomly assigned to the intervention arm of a pragmatic preference randomised trial (total randomised controlled trial, n=819; response rate=45%).

Intervention: In the first week (phase I), mothers were assisted with their first website login by a research assistant. In weeks 2–7 (phase II), mothers participated in the web-based intervention with an expectation of weekly logins. The web-based intervention was comparable to traditional face-to-face new mothers’ groups. During weeks 8–26 (phase III), mothers participated in an extended programme at a frequency of their choosing.

Primary outcome measures: Number of logins and posted messages. Standard self-report measures assessed maternal demographic and psychosocial characteristics.

Results: In phase II, the median number of logins was 9 logins (IQR=1–25), and in phase III, it was 10 logins (IQR=0–39). Incident risk ratios from multivariable analyses indicated that compared to mothers with the lowest third of logins in phase I, those with the highest third had 6.43 times as many logins in phase II and 7.14 times in phase III. Fifty per cent of mothers logged-in at least once every 30 days for 147 days after phase I and 44% logged-in at least once in the last 30 days of the intervention. Frequency of logins during phase I was a stronger predictor of mothers’ level of engagement with the intervention than their demographic and psychosocial characteristics.

Conclusions: Mothers’ early use of web-based interventions could be employed to customise engagement protocols to the circumstances of individual mothers with the aim of improving adherence and reducing attrition with web-based interventions

Read the full article here