When I meet someone for the first time and I tell them I’m a nurse, their next question is “Where do you work?”

I’ve been very lucky in my 31 years as a nurse to have a career that has evolved into something wonderful, yet totally unexpected. The one thing that has remained constant throughout my career is my desire to make a difference in the health of my patients. At Lucina Health, I am doing this on a larger scale than I ever imagined.

At Lucina, we are studying how to solve the problem of premature births, maternal mortality, and other adverse birth outcomes. These are issues that the March of Dimes has been studying since 1938. Lately, poor US birth outcomes have been covered by USA Today, NBC News, and CBS Sunday Morning. What’s the fuss about? Premature birth (before 37 weeks) is the #1 cause of death of babies.

Even if a baby survives premature birth, they can have lifelong problems like cerebral palsy, chronic lung disease, intellectual disabilities, blindness, and hearing loss.  (March of Dimes, 2018) The sad part for Americans is that the United States rates among the worst in infant mortality among developed countries. You can see on the map below that U.S. is performing worse than most countries in Europe as well as Canada and Mexico.

Within the United States the trend of premature birth is getting worse instead of better. The number of premature births has increased in 43 states as well as Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. Numbers have stayed steady in 3 states and improved in 4 states.

Medicaid pays for almost 50% of all births in the U.S.  (Kaiser Family Foundation, 2016) but pays for a higher percentage of premature births (March of Dimes, 2018). We have been working with a large Medicaid Managed Care Organization in Kentucky to use maternity specific analytics and technology to understand which moms are at highest risk for poor birth outcomes. By identifying those at highest risk for poor birth outcomes and using a maternity-specific workflow platform, we are seeing some very promising initial results.   We can identify more than 70% of pregnant women in the first and second trimester, and risk-score all women throughout pregnancy.  The information is shared with a dedicated care team helping these women with interventions to manage risk and extend gestational days.  It’s working.  We have achieved a 12% decrease in pre-term births in the past 18 months, and we are just getting started.

For more information on how you can engage Lucina Health to help more mothers and babies, e-mail us at info@lucinahealth.com or call 502.234.7200.

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