According to the World Health Organization, every year approximately 15 million babies are born preterm, and the number is rising.
In the United States, the CDC website reports that in 2017, 1 out of 10 babies is born prematurely. Preterm birth rate has seen an increase since 2015, quite a surprise after a steady decline for over 7 years.
Preterm birth complications are the leading cause of death of babies in the US.
Complications vary. It also depends on how early the baby is born. The earlier the birth, the higher the risk of complications.
On top of these complications, frontline physicians, nurses, families, and health providers also face other challenges.
September was NICU Awareness Month, the perfect timing to be better educated about what’s going on behind the closed doors of the NICU. NICU Awareness is important because it helps you see and know the miracles and tragedies that happen in the hallways of the NICU. What happens inside NICU’s affect the entire lives of families.
What better way to learn than to host in our podcast Ellen Stang, Founder and CEO of ProgenyHealth, a neonatal health management service.
ProgenyHealth was founded in 2003 by Dr. Ellen Stang to address the need for improved care management and health outcomes for premature and medically complex newborns. To date, the company has managed over 60,000 new cases in over fourteen hundred hospitals in all 50 states. It is now an industry-recognized leader in the NICU niche.
In the podcast interview, Dr. Stang shares her thoughts on current healthcare and management. She said, ” I think hospitals, providers, health plans are doing a better job at working together because managing patients takes a village and their needs during the inpatient setting are a lot.”
Like many healthcare niches, NICU has its own share of challenges. Dr. Stange shared, “Certainly in the NICU managing patients to great health outcomes, but upon discharge, the setting that they’re discharged into matters, their ability to interact and connect with the health system is really important. And when there are barriers in place, that ultimately affect health outcomes. And so, you know, I think the messages we all need to take a very holistic look at the patient.”
ProgenyHealth’s solution is to take a comprehensive look at patients and give them what they need and help them access the system so that they can lead their best life.
For over 16 years, ProgenyHealth has accumulated massive amounts of information and has created a database built into their platform intelligence. Today, the company can now put clinical diagnoses and clinical attributes of patients into their system and know their risk of readmission. They know when to reach out in the course of hospitalization so that the parents of babies are educated whatever they need in the home and support in the place. ProgenyHealth’s platform has allowed the company to interact with hospitals to know when to ask patients and families.
Another challenge Dr. Stang faced when she started the company was the fragmented support system that existed at that time for infants and their families. People weren’t working together as a team.
Her company’s solution? To create a team of three. She said, “We’ve got neonatologist pediatricians, we’ve got NICU nurses talking to hospitals about care plans. And we have case managers talking to families about baby education. And that puts the discharge plan. Our model is very collaborative.”
ProgenyHealth has 24/7 dedicated case managers to families, so they have the same case manager from birth through the first year of life. Patients and families have the same person working with them from the start. They get to know their case managers and they stay very engaged, enrolled in the program.”
Dr. Stang is proud of the high level of member satisfaction. She’s also satisfied with the lower costs of inpatient setting and readmission rates. She can see real collaboration happening in NICU’S ProgenyHealthy assists. She’s happy to see that families have a broader range of resources needed for their babies to achieve true health.
We don’t know if the rate of premature babies will rise or drop next year. Whatever the case may be, we can count on ProgenyHealth to ensure that preterm infants get the best quality care they deserve.
I remember one of the catchphrases on the company’s website. It says, “The journey continues…and there is still much to be done.”
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