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Epic Outcomes

Less Stress in the OB Nest

Telemedicine can improve OB patient satisfaction without diminishing outcomes

For many pregnant women, the 12-14 prenatal visits required during pregnancy don’t exactly fit seamlessly into their schedules and budgets. They might need to leave work to drive to the clinic, alter their schedules, or arrange for childcare during their appointments—only to spend 15 minutes at the clinic before being told that everything looks fine.

While prenatal care is vitally important to the health of both the baby and the mother, a higher number of in-person visits doesn’t necessarily improve the outcomes of low-risk pregnancies. That’s why Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, implemented the OB Nest program. Using data in Epic, clinicians identify pregnant patients with a low risk of complications and give them the option of coming in for only eight in-person visits. Trips to the clinic are necessary for ultrasounds, lab work, and patient education, but patients can receive the rest of their prenatal care through telemedicine. OB Nest patients track their own weight and blood pressure and the fetal heartbeat at home, and Mayo Clinic clinicians monitor the data to make sure the pregnancy is proceeding normally.

So far, the OB Nest program has improved patient and family satisfaction with the prenatal care experience, reduced patients’ stress, and freed up obstetric clinic time for doctors and midwives to focus more on patients with higher-risk pregnancies. Mayo Clinic now offers the OB Nest program as a standard option for all of its low-risk OB patients.

Read more in the Harvard Business Review.