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Maternity & Family Benefits

Millennials and the NICU: Modernizing Your Case Management Strategy to Reduce Premature Births

March 21, 2019

The Challenge

Today, nearly 10% of babies born in the United States are premature (1). On average, each premature baby spends 25 days in NICU specialty care, costing up to $145K a stay (2).

Reducing premature births requires early identification of risk to impact outcomes. Three well-documented factors increasing risk are a previous preterm delivery, a short or insufficient cervix, and/or a history of multiple gestation. And despite evidence that prescribing progesterone demonstrably reduces premature births, less than half of eligible women are prescribed the drug as a preventive measure (3).

While many of these risk factors can be positively impacted to improve clinical outcomes, the challenge is that traditional case management programs are often ineffective at achieving this goal because:

  • Case managers lack access to real-time claims data that would support early identification of risk
  • Outreach strategies are not mobile-enabled so engagement is often ineffective
  • Physicians do not routinely screen women for a short or immature cervix

The Solution: Mobile Modernization and Customization

As a first step, health plans must become more effective at engaging millennials, who are almost exclusively mobile-dependent and demand the same level of customization in healthcare they are accustomed to in other industries. Given that millennials are rapidly becoming the largest and most powerful healthcare consuming generation in the US, any successful intervention to reduce NICU costs should align with the expectations and preferences of this target population.  
The key is creating a mobile-first digital strategy that uses machine intelligence to identify risk early, and delivers customized guidance that resonates with millennials, such as personalized messaging, in-app coaching, and on-demand clinical programs.

To learn more about how millennials are reshaping healthcare, and how to develop an effective digital strategy to increase engagement and help your plan reduce NICU costs, download our 30-minute webinar: Reducing NICU Costs Through Digital Engagement."

1 https://www.cdc.gov/features/prematurebirth/index.html
2 https://www.marchofdimes.org/peristats/pdfdocs/nicu_summary_final.pdf
3 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26829508