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      Digitized Maternal Early Warning and Response Telehealth System

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          In this article, we describe a pilot telehealth project for identifying women at risk of developing serious complications early and for instituting timely, appropriate, and up-to-date management even in situations with limited resources and skilled obstetric services. Maternal mortality remains unacceptably high, with less than two-thirds of the signatories to the 2015 Millennium Development Goals achieving the outlined 75% reduction in maternal mortality ratio (MMR) from 1990 to 2015. Looking forward to 2030, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) lay out a target of reducing the MMR in every country to below 70 per 100,000 live births. This will require progress in low-and-middle-income countries at a rate much greater than that seen over the past 15 years. Given that 94% of the global maternal deaths occur in low- and-middle-income countries, a solution to meet the unique challenges of these countries will be necessary to achieve the SDG. The Women’s Obstetrical Neonatal Death and Reduction (WONDER) telehealth system described here offers a potential telehealth solution to reduce mortality and morbidity rates in resource-limited environments by early identification of risk indicators and initiation of care.

          Materials and methods

          The WONDER system consists of a cloud-based electronic health record with a Clinical Decision Support tool and a color-coded alert system. The Clinical Decision Support tool is based upon Maternal Early Warning Signs and provides real-time assistance to caregivers via relevant national treatment guidelines. This system uses inexpensive computing hardware, displays, and cell-phone technology. This system was tested in a 2-year pilot study in India. A total of 15,184 patients were monitored during labor and the postpartum period.


          Within limitations of the study, the incidence of in-hospital eclampsia was reduced by 91.7%, and in 95% of cases, timely treatment was started within an hour of identifying the abnormality in vital signs. Maternal mortality was reduced by 50.1% over local benchmark figures.


          The WONDER system identified at-risk patients, directed skilled care to those patients at risk for complications, and helped to institute effective, timely treatment, demonstrating a potential solution for women in resource-limited locations.

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          Most cited references 18

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          Global and regional estimates of preeclampsia and eclampsia: a systematic review.

          Reduction of maternal mortality is a target within the Millennium Development Goals. Data on the incidence of preeclampsia and eclampsia, one of the main causes of maternal deaths, are required at both national and regional levels to inform policies. We conducted a systematic review of the incidence of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HDP) with the objective of evaluating its magnitude globally and in different regions and settings. We selected studies using pre-specified criteria, recorded database characteristics and assessed methodological quality of the eligible studies reporting incidence of any HDP during the period 2002-2010. A logistic model was then developed to estimate the global and regional incidence of HDP using pre-specified predictor variables where empiric data were not available. We found 129 studies meeting the inclusion criteria, from which 74 reports with 78 datasets reporting HDP were analysed. This represents nearly 39 million women from 40 countries. When the model was applied, the overall estimates are 4.6% (95% uncertainty range 2.7-8.2), and 1.4% (95% uncertainty range 1.0-2.0) of all deliveries for preeclampsia and eclampsia respectively, with a wide variation across regions. The figures we obtained give a general idea of the magnitude of the problem and suggest that some regional variations might exist. The absence of data in many countries is of concern, however, and efforts should be made to implement data collection and reporting for substantial statistics. The implementation of large scale surveys conducted during a short period of time could provide more reliable and up-to-date estimations to inform policy. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
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            The role of delays in severe maternal morbidity and mortality: expanding the conceptual framework.

            Maternal mortality has gained importance in research and policy since the mid-1980s. Thaddeus and Maine recognized early on that timely and adequate treatment for obstetric complications were a major factor in reducing maternal deaths. Their work offered a new approach to examining maternal mortality, using a three-phase framework to understand the gaps in access to adequate management of obstetric emergencies: phase I--delay in deciding to seek care by the woman and/or her family; phase II--delay in reaching an adequate health care facility; and phase III--delay in receiving adequate care at that facility. Recently, efforts have been made to strengthen health systems' ability to identify complications that lead to maternal deaths more rapidly. This article shows that the combination of the "three delays" framework with the maternal "near-miss" approach, and using a range of information-gathering methods, may offer an additional means of recognizing a critical event around childbirth. This approach can be a powerful tool for policymakers and health managers to guarantee the principles of human rights within the context of maternal health care, by highlighting the weaknesses of systems and obstetric services. Copyright © 2012 Reproductive Health Matters. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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              Gestational Hypertension and Preeclampsia: ACOG Practice Bulletin, Number 222.

              Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy constitute one of the leading causes of maternal and perinatal mortality worldwide. It has been estimated that preeclampsia complicates 2-8% of pregnancies globally (). In Latin America and the Caribbean, hypertensive disorders are responsible for almost 26% of maternal deaths, whereas in Africa and Asia they contribute to 9% of deaths. Although maternal mortality is much lower in high-income countries than in developing countries, 16% of maternal deaths can be attributed to hypertensive disorders (). In the United States, the rate of preeclampsia increased by 25% between 1987 and 2004 (). Moreover, in comparison with women giving birth in 1980, those giving birth in 2003 were at 6.7-fold increased risk of severe preeclampsia (). This complication is costly: one study reported that in 2012 in the United States, the estimated cost of preeclampsia within the first 12 months of delivery was $2.18 billion ($1.03 billion for women and $1.15 billion for infants), which was disproportionately borne by premature births (). This Practice Bulletin will provide guidelines for the diagnosis and management of gestational hypertension and preeclampsia.

                Author and article information

                Telehealth and Medicine Today
                Partners in Digital Health
                02 March 2021
                : 6
                [1 ]Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital, Downers Grove, IL, USA
                [2 ]Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA
                [3 ]Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Biological Engineering, Cambridge, MA, USA
                [4 ]WONDER Clinical Coordinator, Erode, India
                Author notes
                Corresponding Author: Narmadha Kuppuswami, Email: narmadhakupp@ 123456gmail.com
                © 2021 Narmadha Kuppuswami

                This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, adapt, enhance this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial.

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