How Technology Is Providing New Moms With Personalized Care
I had the pleasure of interviewing Juan Pablo Segura, co-founder of Babyscripts, the leading prenatal app and the first mobile clinical tool to allow OB/GYNs to remotely monitor their pregnant patients’ progress and health. Babyscripts is a new model for prenatal care that is transforming the way expectant mothers use technology to work with their OBGYN practice.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
My backstory…a very non-linear one! I was a consultant at Deloitte unwinding bankrupt banks before I heard about what was happening in healthcare and how technology was poised to transform everything. Myself and the other founder of Babyscripts, Anish Sebastian, decided to make a big bet on the internet of things and how internet connected medical devices and seamless connectivity (blue-tooth enabled blood pressure cuffs, scales, and glucometers) would be the vehicle for healthcare transformation. We ended up picking pregnancy through the inspiration of my mother and how she courageously overcame a few miscarriages. I’ll never forget the pain and helplessness that she felt and when we started our journey in healthcare, we committed to using technology to start answering the big questions around pregnancy complications and losses.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
A few obviously mind-blowing concepts that I had no idea about when we started Babyscripts….Number 1 — it’s hard to start a business Number 2 — it’s hard to grow a business and Number 3 — it’s hard to run a business! But in all seriousness, I can’t stress enough the cliche of the power of networking. Whether it’s for a first customer or a first investor, showing up and knocking on as many doors as possible is how you make things happen for you. I remember signing our first customer. I literally had to ask my sister’s then boyfriend’s best friend who worked with a friend who’s best friend was the wife of the head of Innovation at George Washington University. Try explaining that story in a pitch for how you got connected. But we never stopped pushing and when we finally got connected to the head of innovation, he then connected us to the head of OBGYN at George Washington University, our first customer. Same thing applies to investors and nailing down your first VC round. I first met the ultimate lead of our Series A three years before they invested. We were connected, we made a pitch, they mentioned we were too early but to stay in touch. We met with them every year until finally they felt it was time to invest. Grow your network, things will eventually happen for you!
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
I believe it’s both the offering and research. There are alot of companies in the pregnancy space that are using mobile apps to share more education and content to pregnant women but we’re the only company in the pregnancy space that is using IOT devices to actively remote monitoring patients and connect patients back to their provider. This unique piece has allowed us to directly intervene and save patients lives. You can go on our website to see an actual patient testimonial but we’ve detected several instances of severe preeclampsia that have translated to life saving interventions. How cool is that! Regarding research, healthcare requires a lot of trust that comes through clinical research and validation. We are the only solution that has done controlled studies to validate the claims its making in the market. It took us a lot of time to get this work done and a lot of investors actually laughed at us in a pitch because we were taking “the healthcare thing too seriously” but I know we’ll get the last laugh as we partner with doctors to use this technology in a responsible and validated manner.
Are you working on any new or exciting projects now?
Yes. So many but our current big initiative is to help our customers comply with the new American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology (ACOG) guidance on post-partum care. If you’re not up to speed with all the work that’s happening in the OBGYN space, the professional association that oversees all OBGYNs (ACOG) has proposed a new process for physicians to take care of their patients after the delivery. While the guidance is incredibly powerful, it will require more visits so we are working with our customers (healthcare providers) to layer in a virtual, asynchronous visit as the first step in implementing the new guidance to help them adjust to this new process in a financially responsible manner.
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?
One of the most transformative things that we’ve done is something called MARC (Monthly Active Re-Calibration sessions). It’s basically a day every month where everyone stops working and meets with other team members, redefines roles depending on their tasks, issues, or current challenges, and share feedback to improve the way we work and communicate as a team. This process is a shot of energy to the company every month and allows us to handle any issues before they bubble up to a serious problem or concern.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?
So many! I would love to thank the first investor that believed in us: Paul McNamara. The first customer that decided to work with us: George Washington Medical Faculty Associates and Dr. Nancy Gaba, the first customer to invest in our company: Aurora, and every employee, investor, and customer that decided to put the future of their patients, careers, and reputations on the line for us. WE WILL NEVER LET YOU DOWN!
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Our mission in life is better pregnancies. I believe every patient interaction and intervention is a direct contributor to better health and more good in this world. I also think the platform we’ve created in being a fast growing company has allowed us to help encourage the industry to develop more risk specific prenatal care which we believe will save even more women and babies as the industry evolves to meet the needs of its patients and providers.
Can you share the top five ways that technology is changing the experience of going to the doctor. (Please share a story or example for each.)
1. Telehealth Visits: We are seeing an increase in tele-health services available in the obstetrical space. As wait times are increasing, more expectant moms are working longer, and access to OB care is decreasing in rural areas, the ability to access providers with technology is a necessary alternative to face to face visits.
2. Asynchronous Virtual Visits:Using technology, patient and physician don’t have to be scheduled and available at the same time, but can exchange and review information when they each have time. For example, our postpartum experience allows women to complete a number of screenings from the comfort of their home, after having a baby. These results are reviewed by the physician and based on the answers, the physician determines if a follow up needs to occur via phone call or in person.
3. Risk Stratification: Technology allows personalization of care plans. Babyscripts calls our model “precision prenatal care” and offers different modules for different types of pregnancies — so a woman with diabetes in pregnancy will have a different experience than a woman with a low-risk pregnancy.
4. Streamlined Messaging: Particularly in the obstetrical space, women are often seeing different doctors across their pregnancy, which can cause the experience to be a bit disjointed. Technology can help to streamline messaging across a practice or a system so that the patient feels more consistency when engaging with their care providers.
5.Health Plans are also providing new experiences to members, leveraging technology: Our population health module allows plans to be more engaged with their members, and get access to insights across their member base earlier than they normally would via claims data. This allows plans to be more proactive in the care of their members to lower to the total cost of care.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”?
It’s a tie between a more professional tidbit of wisdom which is so true “A players hire A players. B players hire C players” and a more personal perspective for all things in life: “Ability is nothing without opportunity” — Napoleon Bonaparte
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this :-)
I would love to meet with Peter Thiel for a coffee if I had the chance. In several ways he’s bucked the prevailing opinion which has brought a lot of criticism but when you look at his track record and ultimate performance, he’s been wildly successful. I would love to talk to him about risk and how it’s tied to courage, something we need drastically more of in this generation.