Project to study transportation assistance for pregnant women
In many countries, infant mortality rates are a harrowing statistic, often affected by inadequate access to resources. For Smart Columbus’ Prenatal Trip Assistance (PTA) Project, the goal is to focus on the families behind the numbers, studying the transportation resources available to underserved communities. By researching technology solutions and community impact, the project hopes to increase access to medical care.
“The PTA project will compare methods of delivering transportation assistance to pregnant women living in communities with high rates of infant mortality,” said Erinn M. Hade, Assistant Professor at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “Because maternal health status is an important predictor of pregnancy outcome, Smart Columbus is working to make it easier for pregnant moms to get to their doctor’s appointments.”
In the United States there are nearly 5.9 deaths per 1,000 live births and for many of these deaths, there is a pronounced racial disparity among those affected. The pilot hopes to solve this issue by evaluating a more flexible service to schedule non-emergency rides.
Hade and the team at The Ohio State University, Smart Columbus and a wealth of community partners including CareSource, Molina Healthcare, Kaizen Health, CelebrateOne and StepOne hope that their combined resources will not only help identify women in need of assistance, but help give context to the study’s results.
“Very little research has been conducted on the impact of transportation assistance on pregnancy and infant mortality, or how best to provide transportation assistance for pregnant mothers,” said Hade. “Along with Smart Columbus and our partners, we have the opportunity to learn how to improve these programs for the wider community, particularly those struggling with poor birth outcomes and high infant mortality.”
With Ohio at the center of a booming health tech industry, this study hopes to build a network of providers that will enhance care for underserved communities. The pilot will be funded by a portion of the matched investment from The Ohio State University to Columbus’s $50 million Smart City Challenge grant, which was designed to help local governments solve transportation issues with technology.
“This project relies on the expertise and experience of all of our team partners,” said Hade. “We have been encouraged by their excitement and are looking forward to working together to address this issue as a community.”
The program will begin recruiting in June 2019 and will enroll 500 pregnant women in need of transportation assistance who reside in one of eight Columbus communities with high infant mortality. Women will be asked to participate in the pilot project throughout their pregnancy and eight weeks after delivery. Once the study is complete, the program hopes to then provide transportation resources to those in need.