Maternal Health| Volume 27, ISSUE 3, P351-355, May 2017

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Acceptability of Virtual Prenatal Visits for Women with Gestational Diabetes

Published:January 30, 2017DOI:



      Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is one of the most common complications of pregnancy. Current approaches to GDM management and education are labor intensive and costly. Telemedicine offers a potential solution to reduce the time and cost burden of prenatal care for women with GDM.


      We assessed the acceptability of a telemedicine intervention to transmit patients’ weight, blood pressure, and blood glucose measurements from wireless devices to health care providers, and to alternate “virtual office visits” with office-based prenatal visits. We administered surveys to 70 Kaiser Permanente Southern California members with GDM to assess preferences for modalities of GDM care delivery and to understand perceptions of telemedicine. We subsequently conducted 10 qualitative interviews among women with GDM to elicit perceptions about confidence and comfort with receiving care telephonically and safety concerns. Data were coded and categorized using analytic induction.


      Training on these devices would increase participants’ confidence in using the equipment. Continuity of care was perceived as an important factor in facilitating confidence with near universal preference for having virtual visits with the same clinician. Most participants were not concerned with the safety of their baby or themselves during the weeks without an office visit. One participant expressed an unwillingness to participate in the intervention because of a perceived association between having a high-risk pregnancy and an increased risk of pregnancy loss.


      As telemedicine becomes increasingly common in health care, feedback from end users will be essential in tailoring, communicating about, and supporting the uptake and success of such programs.
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      Teresa N. Harrison, SM, is a Senior Research Project Manager in the Department of Research & Evaluation at Kaiser Permanente Southern California. Her research interests include reproductive health, medication adherence, and population-based outreach interventions.


      David A. Sacks, MD, is an Associate Investigator with the Department of Research & Evaluation at Kaiser Permanente Southern California and Adjunct Clinical Professor in Maternal-Fetal Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine. His primary research interest is diabetes in pregnancy.


      Carly Parry, PhD, MSW, MA, is Senior Program Officer, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, Washington, DC. She leads a national transitional care initiative, with expertise in behavioral, mixed methods, and health services research in cancer, chronic illness, and transitional care.


      Mayra Macias, MS, is a Research Associate in the Department of Research & Evaluation at Kaiser Permanente Southern California. She is responsible for coordinating and supporting multiple studies in the fields of gestational diabetes, palliative care, and care transitions.


      Deborah S. Ling Grant, PhD, MPH, MBA, is a Research Project Manager with the Department of Research & Evaluation, Kaiser Permanente Southern California. Her research interests include behavioral therapy for child traumatic stress, substance abuse, health policy, comparative effectiveness, and outcomes research.


      Jean M. Lawrence, ScD, MPH, MSSA, is a Senior Research Scientist with the Department of Research & Evaluation, Kaiser Permanente Southern California. Her research focuses on gestational diabetes, pregnancy complications and outcomes, and diabetes diagnosed in childhood and young adulthood.