How technology can improve obstetric care


In this video interview, experts provide a synopsis of their presentation about technology and obstetric care at the 2023 ACOG Annual Clinical and Scientific Meeting.

Adam Lewkowitz, MD:

Hi, I'm Adam Lewkowitz, MD. I'm one of the MFMs at Brown University Hospital of Rhode Island.

Alex F. Peahl, MD, MSc:

I'm Alex Peahl, MD, MSc. I'm an academic specialist at the University of Michigan. I lead the redesigning prenatal care initiative for ACOG.

Neel Shah, MD:

I'm Neel Shah, MD. I'm the Chief Medical Officer of Maven Clinic and a visiting scientist at Harvard Medical School.

Contemporary OB/GYN: What were some of the highlights from your presentation at ACOG?


So, our session is MedEd Talk about how technology can effectively improve obstetric care, with perspectives from policy, research, and industry. My question is about research. And so, I talk about what we can do as individual providers to help be informed consumers, not just for ourselves, but for our patients. And then how, because a lot of people are interested in creating digital health interventions, and I provide a general roadmap of how to do that effectively.


My portion outlines the gaps in current prenatal care delivery, a model that has remained unchanged for a century. And I'll explore how technology can fill gaps in delivery of best practices, helping patients access services, and improving the patient care experience.


And I bring the industry perspective. I've spent most of my career in academia, so I understand the perspective of Adam and Alex, we're going to talk in my section a little bit about how industry and academia can collaborate to accelerate better use of technology for patients.

Contemporary OB/GYN: What are your thoughts on ChatGPT and artificial intelligence in relation to medicine?


ChatGPT and other AI interventions can actually really help offload some of the more burdensome administrative tasks that we have in medicine. But at this point, I'm a little bit weary in terms of its usefulness and everyday clinical operations,


Maven Clinic as a technology company. And so, we are looking at emerging technologies, including things like ChatGPT, natural languaging, language processing models. That being said, an app or an algorithm is not going to fix health care. In fact, I think a lot of the value proposition of digital health is connecting people through their devices to human beings, and then using technology, including AI in the right ways, to make care more efficient and more reliable.

Contemporary OB/GYN: What are some takeaways from your presentation?


One, I think is that we need to reconsider how we're delivering care to better meet our needs. And technology is one, but not the only tool to do that. The second piece is that we need to reconsider how we're taking in information for our patients, risk stratifying and making sure that they have access to the things that are individualized to them. Again, technology is one part of that. But as clinicians, we need to know how to use that and access it. And finally, our patients' care experience is critical for what we're doing as clinicians, if our patients don't feel welcome, feel like they're receiving equitable care feel like they're heard, then we aren't able to care for them in the best way possible. And tech can be one tool to help accomplish all of those.


Maybe I would add that we should start to think about technology as more of an ecosystem and less of a device, you can see that even when you go down to the vendor space today. And what that really means is the environment that we're practicing has evolved considerably in the last 5 years such that where our patients are going for help for support and for education is very different. In 2018, it was not TikTok. But today it largely is. And so we have to make sure that we're managing that ecosystem is providers in a trustworthy way, so that our patients get the care and support they deserve.


That's exactly what I was just about to say, is that the horse is out of the barn in terms of our patients accessing technology-based information. And so it's our job as providers to help our patients figure out which are the best resources to use. And then also, a lot of people are interested in creating technology-based interventions and you have to include qualitative research methods in order to optimize your intervention, or you're going to spend a lot of time and money creating something that nobody likes or uses.

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