We talked with Dr. Amy Brien, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato, about an innovative Mayo Clinic-developed program called the Mayo Clinic OB Nest.
The Mayo Clinic OB Nest is a new prenatal care model that combines traditional prenatal care office visits with Connected Care visits and in-home monitoring.
Connected Care visits involve communicating with an experienced obstetrics nurse via phone call or through the online portal using secure messaging.
Mankato Moms Blog (MMB): Who qualifies to be a part of the Mayo Clinic OB Nest program?
The Mayo Clinic OB Nest program is for low risk patients. So any woman who has a high risk pregnancy would not be considered a candidate for the program. Part of what we do in the first pre-natal visit is assess your risk level and then let you know the options available to you, and for those patients who are low risk the Mayo Clinic OB Nest is one of those options.
MMB: Ah, so it’s not just for women who live in more rural areas and would have a longer commute to appointments?
Not at all. It’s really designed to give women another choice. We have women using it who live next door to the clinic but for a variety of reasons, whether it be work or child care, they don’t want to have as many appointments and this program allows them to handle some of their care at home. We also have women who live far away but want to come in for every visit. And that’s exactly what we want. We don’t want to discourage patients from coming in to the clinic for their prenatal care, we just want to provide them with another option.
MMB: How long has this been an option for MCHS patients here in Mankato?
We’re slowly getting it rolled out, but it has been in Mankato for about a year. This program has been a huge success in Rochester for a couple years and is starting to spread across other areas of the health system. Rochester has had the most experience with it and there’s been a great amount of positivity around the program. The women we’ve enrolled in Mankato have been really happy with it so far.
MMB: Great, I’m glad that we can help to spread the word! So what equipment is involved?
We supply patients with a fetal Doppler so they can listen to the baby’s heart rate at home. They can do this whenever they want, which is a nice perk of the program. We also supply patients with an automatic blood pressure cuff which is very simple and easy to use. Patients are given pretty detailed instructions about the use of both devices and can always connect with our team if they have questions. Our team also provides them with parameters if the equipment isn’t working properly or if their readings are x, y or z, which will then prompt them to come in to the clinic for an appointment.
MMB: How many less prenatal visits can a Mayo Clinic OB Nest patient expect?
Probably about 5 less visits. Typically with a low risk pregnancy we’ll do around 13 visits for prenatal care. So with this program, there are 8 in-clinic visits.
This is what the typical sequence of care would look like for a patient in the Mayo Clinic OB Nest program:
Sequence of Care Visits (week and visit type)
8-10 weeks – Appointment with nurse in Clinic
11-12 weeks – Appointment with provider
16 weeks – Connected Care with nurse
18-20 weeks – Ultrasound followed by portal communication
24 weeks – Connected Care with nurse
26-28 weeks – Appointment with nurse in clinic
32 weeks – Appointment with provider
34 weeks – Connected Care with nurse
36 weeks – Appointment with provider
37 weeks – Connected Care with nurse
38 weeks – Connected Care with nurse
39 weeks – Appointment with provider
40 weeks – Appointment with provider
41 weeks – Appointment with provider
1 week postpartum – Phone call with Connected Care nurse
6-8 weeks postpartum – Appointment with Provider
MMB: My first thought is that being able to check baby’s heart rate at any time from home would give me some peace of mind, especially early on. Can you speak to that aspect at all?
I think women choose this program for a variety of reasons. Convenience is a big factor as it may be difficult for patients to come in to the clinic due to work or child care restraints. It can be a big time commitment, especially towards the end. While for other women who have had pregnancies before that went really well, they just feel really comfortable monitoring at home. We are finding that most women really like being able to have more proactive involvement in their care. We certainly can have first time moms be a part of the program, but I think when it comes to these first-time moms there are a lot more questions and uncertainty. I see the program appealing to second or third time moms.
MMB: Is there anything else you’d like the moms of Mankato to know about the Mayo Clinic OB Nest program?
We’re just really excited to give women another option and to be able to use this technology. In medicine we’re connecting with patients in different ways, such as at-home monitoring. For our team, this is our first step into connecting virtually with patients. Plus our patient satisfaction has been great so far which helps prove that quality care comes in many forms. We always like to emphasize that if at any time during the pregnancy your risk level changes, or you experience any sudden changes, scheduling routine care is always an option. Patients are always welcome to call or to walk in. Our team is here to support you throughout your journey.