Implementation of a new prenatal care model to reduce office visits and increase connectivity and continuity of care: protocol for a mixed-methods study.

BMC pregnancy and childbirth

PubMedID: 26631000

Ridgeway JL, LeBlanc A, Branda M, Harms RW, Morris MA, Nesbitt K, Gostout BS, Barkey LM, Sobolewski SM, Brodrick E, Inselman J, Baron A, Sivly A, Baker M, Finnie D, Chaudhry R, Famuyide AO. Implementation of a new prenatal care model to reduce office visits and increase connectivity and continuity of care: protocol for a mixed-methods study. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2015;15323.
Most low-risk pregnant women receive the standard model of prenatal care with frequent office visits. Research suggests that a reduced schedule of visits among low-risk women could be implemented without increasing adverse maternal or fetal outcomes, but patient satisfaction with these models varies. We aim to determine the effectiveness and feasibility of a new prenatal care model (OB Nest) that enhances a reduced visit model by adding virtual connections that improve continuity of care and patient-directed access to care.

This mixed-methods study uses a hybrid effectiveness-implementation design in a single center randomized controlled trial (RCT). Embedding process evaluation in an experimental design like an RCT allows researchers to answer both "Did it work?" and "How or why did it work (or not work)?" when studying complex interventions, as well as providing knowledge for translation into practice after the study. The RE-AIM framework was used to ensure attention to evaluating program components in terms of sustainable adoption and implementation. Low-risk patients recruited from the Obstetrics Division at Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN) will be randomized to OB Nest or usual care. OB Nest patients will be assigned to a dedicated nursing team, scheduled for 8 pre-planned office visits with a physician or midwife and 6 telephone or online nurse visits (compared to 12 pre-planned physician or midwife office visits in the usual care group), and provided fetal heart rate and blood pressure home monitoring equipment and information on joining an online care community. Quantitative methods will include patient surveys and medical record abstraction. The primary quantitative outcome is patient-reported satisfaction. Other outcomes include fidelity to items on the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists standards of care list, health care utilization (e.g. numbers of antenatal office visits), and maternal and fetal outcomes (e.g. gestational age at delivery), as well as validated patient-reported measures of pregnancy-related stress and perceived quality of care. Quantitative analysis will be performed according to the intention to treat principle. Qualitative methods will include interviews and focus groups with providers, staff, and patients, and will explore satisfaction, intervention adoption, and implementation feasibility. We will use methods of qualitative thematic analysis at three stages. Mixed methods analysis will involve the use of qualitative data to lend insight to quantitative findings.

This study will make important contributions to the literature on reduced visit models by evaluating a novel prenatal care model with components to increase patient connectedness (even with fewer pre-scheduled office visits), as demonstrated on a range of patient-important outcomes. The use of a hybrid effectiveness-implementation approach, as well as attention to patient and provider perspectives on program components and implementation, may uncover important information that can inform long-term feasibility and potentially speed future translation.

Trial registration identifier: NCT02082275 Submitted: March 6, 2014.