MGM launches virtual health program for pregnant employees

MGM Resorts International and family health virtual platform Ovia Health have partnered to create a new virtual program aimed at decreasing potential maternal and child health issues among high-risk employee populations.

Eligible pregnant MGM Resorts Health Plan members who enroll in Ovia Health’s preeclampsia or hypertension programming will receive free, WiFi-enabled blood pressure cuffs. These cuffs allow members to measure their daily blood pressure levels proactively and input their data into the Ovia Pregnancy app-based program, which then alerts them of any concerning numbers.

“Preeclampsia is a dangerous condition for mothers and babies, affecting 2% to 8% of pregnancies in the U.S.,” said Gina Nebesar, co-founder of Ovia Health. “Preeclampsia further contributes to 12% of U.S. maternal deaths, up to 15% of preterm births, and is one of the most dangerous complications of hypertension. The challenge in diagnosing preeclampsia is that the clinical signs can be nonspecific, so early detection and a preventative approach is crucial.”

She said that with COVID-19 limiting access to proper medical care in some cases self-monitoring during pregnancy is more crucial than ever before. “In our peer-reviewed study with March of Dimes, we discovered that 20% of prenatal appointments during the pandemic were modified, moved online or canceled. This is when biometrics are typically monitored and evaluated, so by delivering devices to people at risk for hypertension and preeclampsia, expecting parents can have more frequent and deeper insights into their pregnancy health in between episodic visits.”

“We are proud to partner with Ovia Health to provide best-in-class preeclampsia and hypertension resources to our pregnant plan members, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Tamra Lynn, director of clinical programs and case management at MGM Resorts International. “We saw a need and worked with Ovia to develop a process that they were able to use with other companies as well; this is a time for our communities to come together, and in a way, we’re doing just that.”

Nebesar stressed that the program is not intended to replace external monitoring according to a healthcare provider’s recommendations, but rather to supplement it by offering members feedback in real time, as well as rich visualizations to analyze and flag potential concerns. Members are also encouraged to share their data with their healthcare providers to better monitor their hypertension or preeclampsia risks over time.

The program is the first of more to come. “Throughout 2021, Ovia Health will be continuing to collaborate with MGM to release new clinical pathways and virtual support that span the full spectrum of reproductive health through parenthood, providing much needed and deserved support for expecting and new parents amid the pandemic, and beyond,” she said.

When the pandemic is no longer affecting healthcare visits, the virtual programs will continue, according to Nebesar, who said, “The pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation of maternal care, and post-pandemic, we’ll continue to see the demand for everyday support in between prenatal visits, chronic condition management and well-care.”