Midwives from Southampton scoop national award for app that improves maternity safety
Three midwives working at University Hospital Southampton, have won a national award for their work developing an ‘incredibly successful’ app that improves maternity care for women during their pregnancy.
The midwives received the Outstanding Contribution to Midwifery Services: Digital award at the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) annual awards in London on 19 May.
Holly Green, Kim Allen and Layla Toomer designed an app which allows pregnant women to access information at the touch of a button on any concerns they have. The women input the details of their pregnancy, and then the app then uses a traffic light system – green, amber and red to triage the issues in terms of seriousness. This allows expectant mothers to be quickly reassured and understand if the symptoms should be reported to their midwife.
For example if the women input the symptoms and it’s designated amber and they are 20 weeks into their pregnancy, it automatically links them to the maternity telephone line which is staffed by midwives. If needed, the app also allows them to make an appointment straight away and shares their notes across their local trusts.
On receiving their award, Holly, Kim and Layla said: “We’re consistently seeing people accessing the app 15,000 times in a month. In 80% of cases, those women aren’t then having to go to a healthcare professional. They’re queries are being answered and they’re being reassured.”
At the awards, they highlighted that they decided to create the app as they wanted to alleviate some of the worry that naturally comes with any pregnancy. Midwives often get feedback from expectant mothers that they are not sure when, and if, they need to contact them if think something is wrong. The app is designed to empower women to take control of the situation and get advice straight away if they think something is wrong.
RCM’s Chief Executive, Gill Walton said: “This is an incredibly successful piece of innovation from Holly, Kim and Layla which really shows the best of midwives. In one stroke, its creative, innovative and most importantly helps reassure expectant mothers in an instant. The app is something that really will, and already is, supporting women during their pregnancy – giving them information on when they need to seek help and letting them make their own referrals. It’s fantastic to hear that the app is already being used regularly by the mothers that Holly, Kim and Layla support.”
The app is already making a difference to pregnant women at what we know can be an anxious time for many women and their families. Commenting on how the app has helped them one of the users said: “It has lots of useful information delivered to me in a timely manner. I was so glad to have this for my first pregnancy – it has put my mind as rest twice so far.”