Kate Ryder, CEO of Maven, Talks Role of Telemedicine in Pregnancy Care, How it Will Influence Patient Journey Post-COVID

October 14, 2020

In this week's episode of Tuning Into The C-Suite, MHE's Briana Contreras spoke with Kate Ryder, CEO of Maven, which is the world’s largest virtual clinic for women’s and family health. In this discussion, they talked about the role of telemedicine in pregnancy care, how it impacts the prenatal model and how it will influence the patient journey post-coronavirus pandemic.

Maven, the world's largest women's and family health virtual clinic, saw a 300% spike in use of their telemedicine platform for visits like mental health during the height of COVID-19, according to CEO Kate Ryder.

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The virtual clinic has provided family and women their virtual model for fertility maternity and pediatric care since founded in 2014. However, since the coronavirus pandemic began shaking up the world, including many health systems, Maven has pushed the use of telemedicine to patients, providers and employers for the sake of women and family's well-being during this time.

Ryder said Maven pushed out a six month plan for telemedicine use due to COVID-19 within a week. This plan gives users telemedicine access to Maven's maternity and pediatric patients because they are two groups of healthcare where routine visits were had often, she says.

With many in-person visits being avoided by patients during the height of the pandemic, Maven wanted to provide employers like MassHealth, for example, a plan to implement emergency maternity and pediatric care with the use of telemedicine for all members.

Ryder said Maven has since seen sustained engagement and higher utilization levels of telehealth as it applies to a maternity setting.

Ryder adds telemedicine has a critical role to pregnancy care, especially during this time.

During a woman's pregnancy, doctor visits occur frequently, especially during the third trimester. However, the time and many other things can be saved if a number of those visits can be held virtually through telemedicine.

"You can actually do some of that (visits) at home through telemedicine, whether it's a weight check, or blood pressure monitoring," Ryder says. "You don't need to disrupt your day as much for those visits."

She recalled of a recent study published out of the University of Michigan that states satisfaction and quality remain high if a patient only has five to six, or fewer in-person visits with more virtual and connected monitoring visits.

"I think that's really cool to think about the convenience of that model for women and how it's not disrupting your work all the time, because I know that's a lot of what our members are really afraid of: to tell their boss they're pregnant," she says. "They (worry about) getting stressed out and having to leave work all the time."

"I think that there's a lot of hopefully, modern thinking coming to the whole prenatal care pathway," she adds.

Post-pandemic, Ryder hopes patients have found the convenience of telemedicine for the type of visits that require engaging in quick information from medical experts.

However, there are many acute conditions where an in-person visit is more beneficial than a visit through telemedicine, she added.

"But equally, there's a lot of really easy stuff that you can get done via telemedicine," Ryder says. "I think what we've seen is not only are our patients really satisfied with it, but doctors are too, and I think a lot of doctors have been surprised at how much that they can get done via telemedicine, that they might have not embraced kind of before COVID. I think what we're seeing is this shift that was supposed to take place over many, many years, take place over months, to a more virtual model of care."