Steve Calvin M.D. on pregnancy care, health care reform, and innovation

What is real pregnancy care innovation?

Some innovations are real steps forward and some just sustain the current system.  A recent interview with a high tech pregnancy care company CEO is revealing:

The interview is a bit long but it is pretty clear that this CEO actually believes that his company is involved in real innovation.  All the buzz words are used,  such as “solution” and  “disruptive innovation”.   Essentially this company provides algorithms to read continuous fetal monitoring strips and to suggest clinical responses.  As a maternal-fetal medicine specialist I know that some babies clearly benefit from continuous monitoring.  Unfortunately this company’s business model is based on the assumption that this is the case for every baby.  There is no mention of the clear evidence that continuous fetal monitoring for normal pregnancies has risks for iatrogenic harm to mothers and babies.

Two other things caught my eye.  The interview discusses the concept of a “remote OB hospitalist” as one solution to the decreasing number of OB MDs.  No mention of midwives and a team approach.  The CEO also acknowledges that budgets are tight but then goes on to say that, “Our ability to show that there were complications in the labor portion, we think, is going to allow hospitals to correctly charge and code their DRGs and establish some top-line revenue growth as well.  Obstetrics is one of the biggest offenders in “innovating” its way to a more costly and complicated system.   This won’t be a step forward.


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