This week UnitedHealthcare launched a new maternity health app, The UnitedHealthcare Healthy Pregnancy, which will provide patients with 24-7 nurse support during pregnancy and after delivery. The Minnetonka, Minnesota-based insurance company said it hopes to provide expectant and new parents additional access to prenatal and post-natal care and also to reduce healthcare costs.
“When I was practicing, there were a number of times people would come into my office and say this [medical concern] happened last night but I didn’t want to bother you,” Dr. Janice Huckaby, an OBGYN and regional chief medical officer for UnitedHealthcare, told MobiHealthNews.
The app gives patients the ability to quickly connect with a medical professional.
In addition to the support line, patients can monitor and track weight, set reminders to take vitamins, and track appointments and events. Patients will also be able to take a health assessment and discuss the results of that assessment with a nurse. The app is customizable and lets patients receive weekly updates based on their baby’s gestational age, as well as search for information about pregnancy symptoms. The app also comes with a “kick counter” so expectant moms can monitor their baby’s movement.
“It is very timely,” Meena Pinnamaneni, product director of Healthy Pregnancy, told MobiHealthNews. “We kept in mind what the member might be thinking about at that gestation period.”
For example, a woman who is in her third trimester of pregnancy might be thinking about the pros and cons of getting an elective Caesarean. If the patient has questions about upcoming events in the pregnancy, the app also has a section that highlights certain questions expectant parents may have.
The app integrates into UnitedHealthcare’s maternity program. If patients take health assessments in the app it can help providers associate patient risks and connect them to a nurse or clinician.
The company said there are a lot of misconceptions around pregnancy and newborns. Recently, UnitedHealthcare conducted a survey which found that 73 percent of women underestimated the duration of a full-term delivery. A normal full-term pregnancy will last 39 weeks. A majority of women surveyed answered that pregnancy lasted 36 weeks or nine months.
Pinnamaneni said that the app also works as an education tool.
“I’ve been both the patient and the provider in this space and, even when you have a lot of intellectual knowledge, like I did, experiencing it is something else,” said Huckaby.
This app allows patients to look up evidence-based and clinically relevant information in seconds instead of googling.
But it isn’t just information the app provides—it also provides resources for patients.
“I think there is a lot to be said for peace of mind,” said Huckaby.
In 2016 UnitedHealthcare and Qualcomm Life launched another mobile-enabled app called, UnitedHealthcare Motion. The app tracks employee fitness and gives discounts to employees that meet certain fitness goals. Earlier this month the company announced that it was expanding UnitedHealthCare Motion to Samsung and Garmin users, in addition to members with Fitbits.