Virginia Hospital Center (VHC), a community-based hospital providing medical services to the Washington, DC metropolitan area for 75 years, has received a $38,000 grant from the Jennifer Bush-Lawson Foundation (JBLF) for the pilot of the Hospital’s OB Connect program, which provides patients with the flexibility to receive prenatal care from home.
“Just as people have gotten used to tracking their health with watches and other wearable devices, our patients have easy-to-use home monitoring equipment to keep their OB/GYN provider apprised of their vital signs,” said Amanda Rohn, MD, FACOG, VHC Physician Group-OB/GYN. “VHC OB Connect represents a new age of medicine, where we are using technology to make care more convenient for patients and, at the same time, giving them greater access to their healthcare providers.”
Rather than visiting the office for every appointment, OB Connect patients schedule some remote appointments, called Continuing Care Visits, via secure video. The program provides participants with a fetal Doppler to check their baby’s heart rate and an electronic blood pressure cuff for personal blood pressure monitoring. Patients then report these readings to their nurses two days before each appointment through the MyVHC patient portal, allowing nurses to review results and consult doctors and midwives as needed.
“VHC’s OB Connect program is an essential step in the movement for accessible prenatal care for economically vulnerable moms,” said Neal Lawson, founder and chair of the Jennifer Bush-Lawson Foundation. “With virtual appointments, patients will not have to take time off work, pay for childcare or parking, or rush to appointments. We hope that by funding this program, we can reduce the financial burdens and added stress that so often come with seeking care during pregnancy.”
The JBLF grant provides funding for OB Connect Nurses, at-home care kits for patients, the OB Connect educational app, and the printing and translation of program materials to Spanish for increased accessibility. Additionally, the donation allows patients of VHC’s Outpatient Clinic to access this brand-new program free of charge.
“We cannot thank the Jennifer Bush-Lawson Foundation enough for their generous donation to Virginia Hospital Center,” said Michelle Altman, MBA, MSN, RN, Patient Care Director. “The OB Connect program is transformational for our Outpatient Clinic patients, providing them with reliable access to convenient, top-quality prenatal care.”
The OB Connect program is closely connected to the mission of the Jennifer Bush-Lawson Foundation. Founded in honor of Jenn Lawson, who lost her life in 2014, the organization works to increase access to quality maternal and infant care for economically vulnerable families.
The VHC Physician Group-OB/GYN is the first and only OB/GYN practice in the area to offer a service of this type to their patients. The program is now in full force at VHC, and recently, the first mother to enroll in the program completed a successful delivery.