Women’s Health Innovators: Babyscripts

By Sydney Herzog

While maternal mortality rates decline around the world, pregnancy-related deaths in the United States continue to rise. Three out of every five deaths that occur before, during, or up to a year after giving birth could have been prevented, and Babyscripts saw an opportunity to make that statistic a reality.  

Founded in 2014 by Anish Sebastian and Juan Pablo Segura, Babyscripts set out to change how doctors use technology to improve patient care during pregnancy. Their company’s team has grown over the past six years, now including designers, marketers, physicians, engineers, and scientists who are all passionate about the same mission.  

Babyscripts is a comprehensive and clinically validated maternity program that allows providers to virtually manage their pregnant and postpartum patients. Unlike direct to consumer pregnancy apps, patients can only access Babyscripts through their OBGYN and the information they see is tailored specifically for them by their prenatal care provider. 

Remote-patient monitoring also sets Babyscripts apart from other healthcare apps. This tool allows doctors to monitor their patients during and after their pregnancy. In turn, this decreases the number of necessary in-person appointments, allows for timely interventions if a problem arises, and helps gain insight into pregnancy complications by collecting patient data.  

“We’ve made it a priority to educate the market about the value of this type of tool for patients and practices,” said Sarah Nicholson, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Babyscripts. “By leveraging these types of technology tools, a practice can gather way more data around these patients to deliver more precise care, and consequently patients can spend less time in the office, because a provider doesn’t need to see them as frequently.”  

Sarah Nicholson, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Babyscripts
Allison Wils, Vice President, Strategy at Horizon Government Affairs

Last year, Babyscripts was a finalist in HITLAB’s 2019 Women’s Health Tech Challenge centered around the growing industry of women’s health technology. Nicholson highlighted that the company had a great experience at the Challenge and that the most beneficial parts of the event were the networking and press exposure. The company received the Syneos Women’s Health Tech Innovation Award presented by Syneos Health. As part of their prize, Babyscripts participated in a workshop with Syneos Health learning how to approach new revenue streams and solidifying the direction of their company. 

“Getting more exposure, especially in New York City, was a great opportunity to expand our network and presence in the women’s health space,” Nicholson said. “It also helped to grow some strong relationships that we’ve continued to foster.” 

Through the Challenge experience, Babyscripts connected with Horizon Government Affairs, who invited them to attend a digital health day on Capitol Hill. This opportunity allowed the company to meet Congressional officers, visit the White House, and engage in discussions about how to move digital health forward from a federal perspective.  

“Building a modern health care system requires the type of solutions Babyscripts offers,” said Allison Wils, Vice President, Strategy at Horizon Government Affairs. “Federal and state policymakers are craving new ideas that deliver better more efficient patient care and help those who need it most.”   

For future Challenge finalists, Nicholson recommends that they articulate a compelling story behind the business. With only a few minutes to pitch an idea, the story can be the most important tool in grabbing the audience’s attention and gaining support. 

Since the Challenge, Babyscripts has worked with their client base of OBGYNs to obtain feedback and improve their product. Recently, they launched an updated version of their mobile app called Babyscripts myJourney. The new app has a new look and feel that is more like direct to consumer pregnancy apps, including more visually pleasing features and consistent daily content.  

The new app has a larger content base that now includes information through one year postpartum, which is when many pregnancy complications occur. Technical integration features were also added and improved to allow Babyscripts to more easily embed into existing healthcare systems.  

“We very much operate in a startup mindset: we have sprints, we test, we get feedback, and then we do it again,” Nicholson said. “We use our provider partnerships and patient feedback to help us with the product development process.” 

When Babyscripts pitched at the Challenge last May, they had a heavy presence in the Midwest and the Southeast regions of the country. After focusing on expanding their reach, they now have many large partnerships in the Western U.S. as well.  

With the rise of COVID-19, Babyscipts has pivoted to meet the new needs of their customers. Before the outbreak, the providers using the Babyscripts technology were still early adopters of the virtual care platform. Now, however, most physicians are shifting to use these digital tools and the company has been preparing for and meeting an increase in demand.  

“We are at this interesting point where COVID-19 has essentially forced an adoption to virtual care, so right now we are focusing on ensuring that we have a product that is enterprise ready to meet that demand,” Nicholson said. 

To assist pregnant patients, Babyscripts updated their content to include COVID-19 guidelines and ran campaigns to educate women on changes surrounding in-person appointments, hospital visits, and other aspects of prenatal care. The company has seen 100% engagement with these campaigns as pregnant women are searching for trusted sources of information.  

In addition, Babyscripts created a COVID-19 resource center on their website to educate the provider community on best practices during this crisis and strategies for moving from in-person to virtual care. The company also modified their product and their pricing to make their tools more accessible for practices that have funding concerns during this time.  

“This is a time full of unknowns, especially for pregnant women,” Nicholson said. “Women are looking for trusted information about what’s going on, what they should and shouldn’t be doing, what to expect from their health system or care team — so our provider customers need us to get information into the hands of their pregnant patient population in real time.” 

In March and April, Babyscripts saw a 650% growth in the remote patient monitoring part of their program. Before COVID-19, most providers only remotely monitored a subset of patients, but now with the substitution of virtual care for in-person visits, 100% of patients are using the remote-monitoring tools.  

According to Nicholson, the company’s clients who were already in the mindset of using virtual care adjusted quickly to the changes that COVID-19 required. Rather than having to set up new systems, they simply expanded their virtual care protocols from a select group of their patients to all of them.  

Although the company’s short-term goals are centered around COVID-19, Babyscripts still has an ambitious mission: eliminate maternal mortality. Specifically, Babyscipts strives to ameliorate health outcomes for women of color who are disproportionately impacted by both the pandemic and higher rates of maternal mortality. 

“We are working to develop better solutions to engage a population that is more socioeconomically at risk and detect not only clinical risk but social risk to make sure women are getting care they need during their pregnancy,” Nicholson said. “We are really hoping to move the needle on the maternal mortality statistics in the United States.” 

Reflecting on her own experiences in the femtech industry, Nicholson shares with other innovators in the field and young women aspiring to make a difference that now is an exciting time in the digital health space.  

“We’ve been in this since 2014, and it’s been a long hard road,” Nicholson said. “The healthcare space is now in this pivotal moment where digital health is soon going to be the standard of care – and that means there’s a lot of exciting opportunities for growth in the field.”