Wellbe mobile app aims to be a guide to pregnancy and newborn care for patients | Economic news

It may be “good” the next parenting trend – owning a personalized manual that, despite being small enough to fit in your pocket, tells you what to expect when you’re pregnant.

Members of the Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club compete in a series of races on Monona Lake on January 15-16, 2022.

And it might just change the way Sauk Prairie Healthcare Birthing Center gynecologists and nurses help patients find a new life in the world – at a time when birth rates are falling, providers face burnout, hospitals are understaffed and in-person interactions are minimal amid the ongoing pandemic.

Founded ten years ago, the Madison-based health tech startup well being has equipped healthcare facilities across the country with self-service digital tools (called ConnectedCare) that help patients understand the conditions they face and continuously engage with their doctor for treatment and surgeries , even after in-person appointments have ended. The facilities, specializing in neurology, obstetrics, orthopaedics, spine, bariatrics and others, each use a personalized ConnectedCare program.

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Wellbe, with 26 full-time employees, has produced 50 of these programs to date.

“In many cases, providers are falling back on handing out paper forms (for patients)…’Here’s all the things you need to do in the next six months’…’Check in with us,'” a said Wellbe CEO James Dias “(These are not) the most effective ways to get patients to engage (with their doctors).”

“What we’ve seen (among patients and providers) using our (digital) platform are high levels of engagement…at 96-98%,” Dias added.

For 67 new parents at Sauk Prairie Healthcare Birth Center, the cloud-based ConnectedCare app aims to provide appointment forms, as well as educational materials and assessments related to pregnancy and newborn care, a said Dias, adding that all are accessible on mobile. device.

The center has just over 30 staff, including nurses, gynecologists and other medical staff.

The partnership between Sauk Prairie Healthcare and Wellbe is the first of its kind in Wisconsin and the Midwest, Dias said. But the institution has been using the startup’s software for orthopedic providers and patients for years.

Philanthropist Lea Culver, co-founder of a fast food chain Culver’s, provided funding to help put the app at the center. The amount of funding could not be disclosed.

And so it became the next space for Wellbe to innovate last November, after delivering 402 babies in 2021 compared to 350 in 2020, said director of birth and women’s care Sue Shafranksi, adding that the increase is counter to that of hospitals in the United States.

The number of births in the country has fallen every year since 2008, according to data from the National Center for Health Statistics.

Between 2000 and 2019, daily births decreased by an average of 0.39 per year. This drop was more marked in 2020, when daily births fell by 4.06% compared to 2019.

From car seats to pediatricians

The app guides pregnant patients through the 10 weeks before and after giving birth, Shafranski said.

The software is particularly critical at the start of a patient’s third trimester, she said, when logistical, medical and personal preparations are needed for the delivery of their baby – the app tells new moms what to expect. wait during the experiment.

It also tells a parent how to care for their newborn — education is available on breastfeeding and even on selecting the right car seat or pediatrician, she said.

“Most of our patients are very happy with (the app),” said Sauk Prairie Healthcare Birth Center gynecologist Todd Schad, adding that while the software has only been available to staff for a few months, “it provides us with a checklist to be able to visually see what kind of homework the patient has (and hasn’t) done.

The technology not only helps Sauk Prairie Healthcare birthing center staff identify gaps in patient care, he said, but it frees them up more time to interact with new moms face-to-face.

Schad said he has less “unnecessary paperwork” to do thanks to the app, and anticipates the circumstances are the same for his colleagues. To really measure the impact the app has had on providers and their patients, more data is needed, Shafranski said, adding that the birth center will study this in the coming months. Schad’s experience is the goal, she said, along with a reduced need to hire new employees.

But for providers of other specialties, Dias said, the time saved amounts to hundreds of hours.

More growth expected

Last summer, Wellbe received $2 million in funding led by Madison-based investment firms HealthX Companies and WISC Partners.

At the time, ConnectedCare was used by 21 healthcare systems in 16 states.

The money was intended to help the startup expand into new markets, which it effectively did, Dias said, adding that the company added cancer as a specialty to its digital repertoire 18 months ago. .

Maternal care and weight loss offer the latest prospects for growth, he said, adding that the startup’s technology uses a versatile and “modular” approach.

Going forward, Wellbe will continue to look for new ways to diversify, Dias said.

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