Blog post

Connecting the dots for maternal health

We say it a lot, but it bears repeating: we are in a worsening maternal health crisis...

https://www.delfina.com/resource/connecting-the-dots-for-maternal-health
Blog post

Connecting the dots for maternal health

We say it a lot, but it bears repeating: we are in a worsening maternal health crisis...

https://www.delfina.com/resource/connecting-the-dots-for-maternal-health
Blog post

Connecting the dots for maternal health

We say it a lot, but it bears repeating: we are in a worsening maternal health crisis...

Authors
Authors
Authors
Senan Ebrahim
https://www.delfina.com/resource/connecting-the-dots-for-maternal-health

We say it a lot, but it bears repeating: we are in a worsening maternal health crisis that disproportionately affects Black, Indigenous, and other women of color. At Delfina, we are pushing ourselves and the larger community of employers, payers, and providers to ask: what is really behind this maternal health crisis, and what can we do to solve it?

The first step is identifying the factors behind worsening maternal health, both clinical and social. Social determinants of health (SDOH) like racial biases affect everyone’s health, and some have a disproportionate impact on pregnant people. Racism, sexism, and bias at the individual and the structural level, limited access to hospitals and health insurance, and political, social, and economic limitations on reproductive care all impact maternal health outcomes. 

Historically, these disparities were undervalued or considered outside the realm of healthcare professionals, leading to the exclusion of individuals in marginalized communities from initiatives aimed at enhancing healthcare outcomes. But these SDOH are the root causes of many maternal health issues, and a comprehensive maternal health solution must take them into account. 

Health professionals have tried to overcome harmful SDOH since they were first documented, but our current approach doesn’t address the system that creates and maintains these inequities. We need to look at the big picture and build a fairer, more effective network of care. 

So how do we change the system? We need to connect the dots.

“Things are very fragmented,” said our Chief Medical Officer Bonnie Zell, MD, MPH. “There are a lot of ideas for programs or products that broaden the scope to providers and patients. And that’s great. But a disaggregated approach isn’t going to have the impact we need.”

“The big opportunity is using technology to connect all the dots,” Dr. Zell said.

Innovators in the healthcare field have implemented evolving interventions, like virtual women’s health clinics, pregnancy trackers, and integrated community care models. But as long as these solutions remain disconnected, we will not be able to improve outcomes to meet the urgency and scale that this crisis demands. 

To confront the challenges birthing individuals encounter daily, we must pair effective models with cutting-edge technologies to establish an equitable maternal care system that connects pregnant patients with providers, supplemental benefits, and community resources. We call it our "closed loop," or connected system of care.

This is just the beginning. In order to help organizations interested in health equity understand this crisis and our approach to solving it, we’ve written an ebook. Download it here and learn more about how we’re redefining modern maternal health.

Connecting the dots for maternal health

Senan Ebrahim
MD, PhD
Chief Executive Officer
at Delfina
12
Apr
2024
·
3
min read

We say it a lot, but it bears repeating: we are in a worsening maternal health crisis that disproportionately affects Black, Indigenous, and other women of color. At Delfina, we are pushing ourselves and the larger community of employers, payers, and providers to ask: what is really behind this maternal health crisis, and what can we do to solve it?

The first step is identifying the factors behind worsening maternal health, both clinical and social. Social determinants of health (SDOH) like racial biases affect everyone’s health, and some have a disproportionate impact on pregnant people. Racism, sexism, and bias at the individual and the structural level, limited access to hospitals and health insurance, and political, social, and economic limitations on reproductive care all impact maternal health outcomes. 

Historically, these disparities were undervalued or considered outside the realm of healthcare professionals, leading to the exclusion of individuals in marginalized communities from initiatives aimed at enhancing healthcare outcomes. But these SDOH are the root causes of many maternal health issues, and a comprehensive maternal health solution must take them into account. 

Health professionals have tried to overcome harmful SDOH since they were first documented, but our current approach doesn’t address the system that creates and maintains these inequities. We need to look at the big picture and build a fairer, more effective network of care. 

So how do we change the system? We need to connect the dots.

“Things are very fragmented,” said our Chief Medical Officer Bonnie Zell, MD, MPH. “There are a lot of ideas for programs or products that broaden the scope to providers and patients. And that’s great. But a disaggregated approach isn’t going to have the impact we need.”

“The big opportunity is using technology to connect all the dots,” Dr. Zell said.

Innovators in the healthcare field have implemented evolving interventions, like virtual women’s health clinics, pregnancy trackers, and integrated community care models. But as long as these solutions remain disconnected, we will not be able to improve outcomes to meet the urgency and scale that this crisis demands. 

To confront the challenges birthing individuals encounter daily, we must pair effective models with cutting-edge technologies to establish an equitable maternal care system that connects pregnant patients with providers, supplemental benefits, and community resources. We call it our "closed loop," or connected system of care.

This is just the beginning. In order to help organizations interested in health equity understand this crisis and our approach to solving it, we’ve written an ebook. Download it here and learn more about how we’re redefining modern maternal health.

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