Arizona health plan rolls out Pacify video chat app for new moms in need

By Dave Muoio
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Care1st Health Plan Arizona has launched a pilot program offering Pacify Health’s live video chat app to new and soon-to-be mothers enrolled in the state’s Medicaid program.

The Pacify service, which is also available to consumers on Android and iOS platforms, quickly connects users to lactation consultants, dietitians, and other pregnancy management specialists. The video chat service is now available to all of the health plan’s expectant mothers and those up to 12 months postpartum, explains Pacify Health CEO Ben Lundin, and on average will connect mothers and experts in 25 seconds at any time of the day or night.

“When it’s 2 o’clock in the morning and you’re struggling with breast feeding, the last thing you want to see from an application is that the first available appointment is tomorrow at five,” Lundin told MobiHealthNews. “The moms who are creating these accounts and accessing these services are experiencing a radically higher level of care, and are showing much higher levels of satisfaction as a result.”

Traditionally, new mothers in need of assistance during off hours had few options outside of calling a knowledgeable friend, visiting an emergency room, or waking up their doctor during the middle of the night, Lundin said. A service capable of offering 24-7 consulting is capable of not only reassuring hysterical mothers, he continued, but would also greatly reduce unnecessary emergency services and their accompanying expenses.

“The key component to the technology development has precisely been solving that issue: how do you take a service like lactation consulting or dietetics … and connect them in under 30 seconds to the moms who need them?” Lundin said. “It’s partly an Uber-like technology for call routing and availability identification … and it utilizes a lot of push notifications."

While Care1st Health Plan Arizona is the first in the state to work with Pacify, the company currently has arrangements with additional insurers. What’s more, Lundin said that his company is comfortable working within the framework of Medicaid, public health networks, and regulations.

“We don’t see state Medicaid agencies as a hurdle at all,” Lundin said. “What we’ve found is that state regulators are overwhelmingly excited about programs that can transform the level of care in these populations. So many technology companies out there are providing fee-for-service or high-cost platforms that are targeting the commercial market or wealthier families, and it’s really awesome to be able to offer a program like this that is accessible in the Medicaid space and that has the possibility of transforming the way Medicaid participants access care.”

Along with live video chat, Pacify also features regular push notifications, alerts, and various educational resources related to prepartum and postpartum wellbeing.