Maternity DirectA secure telemedicine app connecting pregnant women with NHS midwives
Maternity Direct is a secure telemedicine app that connects a pregnant woman with a registered NHS midwife to answer non-urgent questions by secure text chat. Completed chats are stored in the hospital’s patient record.
By addressing a pregnant woman’s concerns in the long gap between appointments, Maternity Direct brings cost benefits to the NHS by reducing unnecessary A&E and GP attendances for simpler queries, and helps identify issues that might need further attention.
Unlike other online services, Maternity Direct gives the woman comfort knowing that she’s texting with a registered NHS midwife; and the Trust has assurance as the chat is stored in the patient record for future reference.
Maternity Direct is easy for both women and midwives to use on any smartphone, tablet, or laptop.
Acadiant developed Maternity Direct in partnership with Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Why online chat?
Research shows that women in the age group of Maternity Direct’s typical users prefer real-time online communication channels such as chat, instant messaging, and texting.
Maternity Direct, patient view
Features for users
Privacy. Maternity Direct allows women to hold discreet chats with midwives, even at work or in other environment where may they have limited privacy.
Chat history. Closed chats are stored in the app so that the woman can refer back to them at any time.
Appointment reminders. Maternity Direct provides in-app calendars and reminders to help avoid missed scans and other appointments, keeping care on track.
Broadcast health information. Any user — even guests not registered for Maternity Direct — can receive local, regional, and national messages and news via the Health Information feed curated by the hospital.
Maternity Direct, Health Information
Features for midwives
Know who’s chatting. When a woman starts a chat, the midwife on duty can access the woman’s previous chats and referral form.
Midwife support. Group chat functionality enables midwives to consult with each other and manage handovers.
Supervision and assurance. Chats can be supervised in real time, providing assurance that appropriate advice is being provided.
Maternity Direct, midwife view
Benefits for Trusts
Control. Maternity Direct is under the Trust’s control. The Trust manages the referral system and provides the link to the app. There’s no need to go through an app store — the Trust is the highest authority.
Reduced DNAs. Maternity Direct interoperates with a hospital’s appointment system to automate appointment reminders and help minimise Did Not Attends.
Scalable service. Unlike phone calls or in-person appointments, text chats are asynchronous, so a midwife can interact with more than one patient at a time.
Audit trail. Maternity Direct chats are stored in the woman’s patient record at the Trust, and can always be consulted if there is a medical or legal reason to confirm advice given.
Insights and analytics. The software helps generate insights into the types and frequency of questions women are asking, and identify trends and developments.
Maternity Direct, chat summary dashboard
By 2023/24, all women will be able to access their maternity notes and information through their smartphones or other devices.
NHS Long Term Plan, January 2019