Meeting the demands for patient autonomy and "DIY" patient-care

Meeting the demands for patient autonomy and "DIY" patient-care

Pregnant women and new mothers, and families are offered digital support from the Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Aarhus University Hospital. Via a digital care guide provided through an app, the staff guides families through the first weeks of parenthood, meeting the "modern healthcare consumers" demands for more individuality and easy-to-use digital solutions. 

The role of the patient is changing, with the most significant change in healthcare being a greater shift towards patient autonomy and "DIY" patient care. Among these patients, or rather, citizens in need of medical help and assistance, are pregnant women and new mothers accustomed to ready and immediate access to information using digital technologies. Therefore the Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Aarhus University Hospital, provides new mothers and families with a digital care guide. Offering care in a safe and timely manner gradually transitioning to a lower level of care. The philosophy behind the app is information at the right time for the right patient and occasion. For the Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, the goal is to ensure new families have the knowledge needed to provide for their newborn, accommodating the first vital weeks for the child's future health.Evaluations of the digital care guide show high patient satisfaction and increased comfort, safety, and sense of being valued.On top of this, LOS (Length Of Stay) has been reduced, thereby minimizing issues with too many in-patients at the same time. For more complicated childbirths, LOS has been reduced from on average 3,5 to 3,2 days.

Positive motherhoodAccording to a qualitative systematic review published: April 22, 2020, "what matters to women in the postnatal period is achieving positive motherhood including maternal self‐esteem, competence, and autonomy."The time from early labor, admission to the hospital, delivery, discharge, and returning home as a new family has become shortened over time. In Denmark, the average length of stay in hospitals for giving birth is 1-2 days for new moms and between 6-8 hours for women who have given birth before. Naturally, the speed of the process often leaves the new families with unanswered questions. Just as we know, an abundance of patient information, all given at once, quickly is forgotten.Therefore a digital care guide provides an easy contact function where the families can contact staff from the Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics.Though experience from the department shows that the families rarely use the instant contact function because they often can find the answers provided in the many videos, text, graphics, and other media formats.The department received 1360 calls in the summer of 2017, which was reduced to 1265 calls in the summer of 2018. Though the number of births in the same period increased by 32, the number of received calls was reduced by 7% following the implementation of the digital patient progression guide.

Upping patient satisfaction and utilizing the resources The app has generally made it possible to redistribute and optimize the way the department uses its resources. For example, with the communication flow structured, the clinicians can distribute their time and focus on equity, e.g., on more demanding pregnancies and prenatal care.

Allan Juhl
Allan Juhl
CEO

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