Innovation from a Society Member

Professor Regine Steegers-Theunissen has recently developed a mobile health platform to facilitate healthy pregnancies. Here is some information on this platform:

mhealth

Nowadays an enormous advantage is that the current reproductive population is used to internet and socio media. Because of the great need for personal and evidence-based nutrition and lifestyle coaching, the online Dutch platform Smarter Pregnancy (www.slimmerzwanger.nl) has been developed and launched in 2011 as online application on the smartphone or mobile phone in combination with internet connection via the computer for use by couples during the periconceptional and pregnancy period (English demo www.slimmerzwanger.nl/nl/demo-EN.php).

This mHealth platform consists of a screening module on the website that generates via an algorithm, a personal risk profile that is linked to a 6 months coachingsprogram with interactions by short message services, email and website containing incentives, tips, tricks, recipes and rewards. This makes the user aware, motivates and empowers them to adopt a healthier lifestyle depending on personal lifestyle risk factors or behaviors such as gender, medication use, fertility and antenatal treatment, and pregnancy status. The Smarter Pregnancy platform received a CE-1 marking which means that it is a medical device used in medical care because of its compliance to the highest guidelines regarding legislations on safety of medical devices in Europe. In a recent survey of more than 2000 participants, we have shown that nearly 65% completed the 6 months coaching, approximately 30% improved intakes of vegetables, fruit and folic acid, and quitted smoking and alcohol use, and a 20-40% increased conception rate was established. This mHealth platform is now being implemented in patient care with support of organizations of health care professionals, patient organizations and one of the largest health care insurance companies in the Netherlands who reimburse the costs of a subscription. Opportunities to involve multiple stakeholders are explored and will further stimulate the implementation in routine preconceptional and pregnancy care.

Currently the Smarter Pregnancy platform has been translated in the English language and is being tested in the UK (Stephenson, University College London). Several universities and hospitals in Europe as well as USA have shown now their interest to customize and implement the Smarter Pregnancy platform into their own (clinical) setting. We hope that this will contribute to our ambition to provide as well as improve the quality of preconceptional and pregnancy care with the ultimate aim to enhance health and prevent NCD of future generations and to reduce related health care and societal costs.

If you are interested in developing your own online mHealth Smarter Pregnancy platform on the smartphone with personalization on language, culture, clinical care and target group, please contact us on slimmerzwanger@erasmusmc.nl or r.steegers@erasmusmc.nl.

Régine P. M. Steegers-Theunissen, MD, PhD; Professor in Periconceptional Epidemiology

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