For low-income patients, the challenges of pregnancy are only compounded by the challenges of prenatal care: the dozen or so doctors’ appointments, the time off work or childcare, the cost of parking and public transit.
“Even just getting to appointments can be huge trouble,” said Kathryn Marko, an OB-GYN at George Washington, a Washington, D.C.-based health system looking to technology like video calls, apps, and digital blood pressure cuffs to make maternal health care more equitable.
For years, Marko has collaborated on that effort with Babyscripts, one of a handful of startups working with health systems to deliver virtual maternal health care specifically for low-income patients, including those on Medicaid, which account for half of all births in the U.S. These companies have struck partnerships with several large health systems to send patients home with their own blood pressure cuffs and apps that keep tabs on their vital signs, weight, mental health, and other factors that can influence maternal health.
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