A chat with a digital midwife

Posted on Thu, 13/06/2019 by Corinne Blackburn

A national network of ‘digital midwives’ is helping to harness the power of technology to improve maternity care.

From a smartphone app that enables women to access their maternity notes anytime, anywhere – to the digitisation of patient records that reduces paperwork for staff – exciting changes are taking place throughout the NHS. We spoke to our own digital expert - community midwife, Corinne Blackburn - to find out more.

I wanted to be a midwife for as long as I can remember.  In my eyes, it is a unique career and I find the fact that women and their families allow you to be part of their very special journey of pregnancy and motherhood so amazing and rewarding.

I studied midwifery at the University of Cumbria and started my career at West Cumberland hospital where I worked for two years as a hospital midwife before moving to the QE to work in the community. In June 2016, I took on the additional role of digital midwife.

The main aim of the role is to lead the way in which we use technology to enhance the care we give and improve outcomes for mothers and their babies.

This has included the transition from paper records to an electronic system. This involves training and supporting staff to use the system as well as testing updates and implementing new developments and initiatives.

The best thing about my job so far has been the roll-out of the woman’s digital record to enable women to access their maternity records in real-time using their smartphone, PC or tablet.

This innovative technology increases choice and personalisation and empowers women by enabling them to take greater ownership of their maternity care.

As well as access to information such as their appointment details and their test results, there is also lots of useful advice and support and the option to add personalised birth plans, diaries and upload photos.

Going digital has also brought lots of advantages for staff such as reducing the need for duplication and carrying bulky maternity notes. The initial booking appointment time has also been reduced by up to 10 minutes thanks to the pre-portal booking functionality, which frees up valuable time.

Over the course of a year, the Trust could potentially save over 400 hours in staff time, which will free up more time for patient care.

It also improves communication and helps us to find out more about our mothers-to-be, creating a valuable resource for clinicians who have all the information they need to make the best decisions.

The last few years have been a huge learning curve, but I’ve really enjoyed the challenge and it is very much part of my career now.

It is exciting to see one of the world’s oldest professions constantly developing and innovating to ensure women in Gateshead have the highest standards of care.

Find out more about the Maternity Notes App here

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