New app designed to reduce bias, improve care for women of color giving birth

Temple Hospital offers the app in the effort to lower Black maternal mortality in Philadelphia
A Black pregnant woman.
Photo credit Prostock-Studio/Getty Images

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Temple University Hospital is using a new app to get immediate feedback from people giving birth. The app is helping the hospital to improve prenatal and postpartum care for families — in particular, families of color.

The Irth App — birth minus the B for bias — was created by Kimberly Seals Allers of NYC tech nonprofit Narrative Nation. The app is designed to inform and improve care by providing patients with a way to call out instances of racial bias or inequity in care, while giving physicians input on how to improve care for patients from marginalized communities.

The app allows people of color giving birth at Temple University Hospital to leave a Yelp-like review or rating for OB-GYNs, pediatricians, nurses, and staff.

Temple University Hospital Postpartum Medical Director Dr. Gail Herrine said it gives a voice to everyone involved along the birthing journey for communities of color, and helps physicians and hospitals to hear those voices.

“Patients, birthing parents, doulas, midwives, dads, family members can download the app and give reviews of the care they are getting,” said Dr. Herrine.

“It’s a way for patients to tell us how they really feel about the care they’re receiving.”

Dr. Herrine said what the app can do might mean the difference between life and death.

Temple University Hospital Postpartum Medical Director Dr. Gail Herrine.
Temple University Hospital Postpartum Medical Director Dr. Gail Herrine. Photo credit Shara Dae Howard/KYW Newsradio

“It’s especially important for people of color,” said Dr. Herrine. “The studies are pretty clear that women of color are losing their lives … in numbers higher than other ethnic groups, and we need to be listening to them in a new way.”

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health’s Maternal Mortality Review Committee published a report in 2021 which said that non-Hispanic Black women had 43% of births in the city from 2013-2018, but accounted for 73% of the city’s pregnancy-related deaths.

Dr. Herrine said the app is just one part of a larger project on the part of Temple Hospital to improve Black maternal health surrounding pregnancy and birth. The university is partnering with Oshun Family Center, a Philadelphia maternal wellness center, on a five-year study to find ways to reduce the high maternal mortality rate for Black women.

“We received a PCORI Grant to do improvement on Black maternal health surrounding obesity and blood pressure issues, surrounding pregnancy and birth,” said Dr. Herrine.

Anyone who has given birth in the last two years at Temple Hospital can download the app and give feedback.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Prostock-Studio/Getty Images