The United States has one of the most technologically advanced healthcare systems in the world, yet we have a maternal mortality rate of about 17 deaths per 100,000 live births. In addition to high rates of maternal mortality, many women experience serious complications around the time of delivery. Numerous factors contribute to the high number of maternal deaths in the U.S., including too few maternity care providers, lack of access to comprehensive postpartum care, and care inequities.
To improve maternal and child health, it is important to move beyond focusing on immediate symptoms and foster a comprehensive approach that addresses whole-person health and underlying drivers of health. This requires a unified approach, supporting partnerships among insurers, providers, employers, and communities.
Three Ways To Support The Health And Well-being Of Women And Their Babies
1. Use Data-Driven Insights
Advancements in technology have led to industry-leading predictive modeling, helping to identify high-risk moms and guide their care throughout pregnancy and after delivery. Our maternal and child health pod approach explores the data insights behind poor outcomes and complications by evaluating the effects of measurable demographic, clinical, provider, and social drivers of health variables to create deeper, more actionable analytics. This can aid in developing member, provider, and facility-level interventions for high-risk conditions such as preterm labor, preeclampsia, and diabetes.
2. Collaborate Across The Care Continuum
Supporting providers through established quality metrics, education, benchmarking, and training can help improve outcomes for mom and baby. Additionally, leveraging digital technology can help engage mothers in early prenatal care, align care teams, and provide educational resources. This is especially helpful in connecting care for moms who live in rural or underserved areas or when conditions limit face-to-face interactions. For example, our Future Moms benefit offers telephone access to a registered nurse, 24/7, for pregnancy-related support before and after delivery.
3. Create Equities In Maternal Healthcare
To understand health holistically, we need to consider the many other factors that impact individual health. Social determinants of health (SDOH) are what the World Health Organization defines as “the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live and age, and the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life.” Understanding the connection between nonmedical factors and health, and how best to address these conditions is critical to driving equitable change in maternal and child health outcomes.
Taking a community-based approach is an effective way to help reduce racial disparities in maternal and child health. With more than 4,000 partnerships with nonprofits nationwide we actively engage in addressing health inequities in the communities we serve. Recently, the Anthem Foundation announced the commitment of more than $14.5 million in grants to address maternal health. With a potential to impact a collective 100,000 women, each grant will focus on one or more of the following goals: reducing preterm birth rate, reducing maternal morbidity and mortality, and reducing primary cesarean rate.
Too often, maternity care in the United States fails women and families by not addressing the care of the whole person and social drivers of health that strongly affect birth outcomes. By choosing an insurer that makes healthcare services for mothers and children an integral part of their overall employee health benefits program, employers can help improve the health and well-being of women and their babies now, as well as invest in a healthier future workforce.
Learn more about addressing care gaps and improving the overall health of families by viewing our on-demand Maternal Health Strategy webinar, featuring Dr. Tiffany Inglis, Medical Director of Clinical Program Population Health.