Northwell Health, the largest healthcare provider in New York State, has released a new chatbot, Northwell Health Pregnancy Chats, in an effort to reduce morbidity and mortality rates among pregnant women. Northwell Health consists of 21 hospitals, 900 facilities, and 12,000 affiliated physicians, and serves 2 million patients annually. The technology used in the chatbot is based on artificial intelligence to provide virtual care resources.
The CDC reported 861 women died from maternal causes in the US in 2020, a rise from the 754 reported in 2019. Shockingly, maternal mortality rates for women of color are far higher, with Black women experiencing a rate of 55.3 deaths per 100,000 lives, representing a 2.9 times higher rate than White women. Northwell Health has created Northwell Health Pregnancy Chats to provide pregnant women and those in the first year postpartum with education, identification of urgent concerns, and, if necessary, referral to an emergency department. This AI-powered chatbot enables users to access health risk assessments, blood pressure tracking, prenatal testing, birth plans, and lactation support.
“Far too many pregnant and birthing people in this country suffer harm or even die because of problems that are entirely preventable. Northwell is committed to doing whatever is necessary to reduce those risks,” said Dawnette Lewis, MD, director of the Center for Maternal Health at Northwell, in a press release. “By bringing together high-tech innovation and high-touch clinical care, the Northwell Health Pregnancy Chats will help keep women and babies safe.”
Northwell Health Pregnancy Chats, developed in collaboration with Conversa Health, a virtual health provider, has been tested with 1,632 patients in a pilot program. Results show that the users were very pleased with the service – 96% of those surveyed were satisfied. Additionally, the system was able to successfully recognize urgent health issues in many cases. Michael Nimaroff, senior vice president of Northwell’s OB/GYN service line and chair of obstetrics and gynecology for North Shore University Hospital and Long Island Jewish Medical Center, expressed in the press release that the chats are comprehensive and personalized, providing reliable support to women whether at the doctor’s office or at home.
The release of Northwell Health Pregnancy Chats is a significant milestone in the effort to reduce maternal mortality rates in the US. It provides an innovative, user-friendly way for pregnant women and new mothers to access support, education, and resources. Northwell Health is dedicated to providing quality care and reducing maternal mortality, and this chatbot is yet another example of the organization’s commitment to their cause.