Healthy Tomorrow app adds discussion groups
for at-risk mothers and babies
McMillen Health is now expanding its Healthy Tomorrow app for pregnant, or recently pregnant, women thanks to support from the St. Joseph Community Health Foundation.
Healthy Tomorrow is a free app available through Apple and Google Play and was developed to support women with Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) and their infants with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). Indiana’s rate of NAS is about 30% higher than the national average: 15.7% of all Indiana babies test positive for opioids, and opioid use rates continue to skyrocket.
The app offers short, educational video content to support pregnant and parenting women and their children. Topics include prenatal care, mental health, dental care, recovery planning, including medication-assisted treatment (MAT), preparing for hospital outcomes, and more.
The St. Joseph Community Health Foundation recognized the need to create the app and offer ways for women to connect with one another in a safe, moderated format and for professionals to connect with these women to provide support throughout prenatal and postnatal health. Additional support from the Foundation will fund the creation of the Healthy Tomorrow discussion forum, which will allow app users to virtually connect with others in a similar situation for mutual support. Additionally, a new professional portal will allow app users to give permission to a home visitor, doctor, mental health professional, social worker, or any other professional to access their progress within the app and help guide them in their recovery journey.
“Healthy Tomorrow alleviates barriers to healthy outcomes for women and children,” says Nicole Fairchild, Executive Director of McMillen Health, “McMillen has expertise in communicating preventive health education on sensitive topics in an easily digestible, user-friendly format. We are eager to promote the benefits of this tool and highlight the needs these women face.”
“We are excited to lean in to help women in Fort Wayne and around the country,” said Meg Distler, executive director of St. Joseph Community Health Foundation, “This is only the beginning of the story. We are proud to be a part of this project.”
Healthy Tomorrow reflects guidance from two advisory groups composed of local pregnant or recently pregnant women with OUD and the professionals who serve them. Both groups shared their struggles in McMillen’s community health needs assessment, In Her Words: Opioid Use Disorder and Pregnancy. The women noted that in other online pregnancy and motherhood chat forums, they were shamed for their diagnosis and found it difficult, and at times impossible, to participate or find peer support.
McMillen Health will continue the app’s expansion over the next three years to include content on various prenatal and postnatal educational topics. Although the pilot of Healthy Tomorrow is to serve pregnant or recently pregnant women in the Allen County area of Indiana with a background of opioid use, the app is available to all parents looking for educational resources worldwide.