Navigate Maternity prioritizes Black mothers’ health with innovative tech

After enduring a life-threatening experience giving birth, Ariana McGee left her corporate job to launch a startup to help Black mothers have healthy and safe births.

Fort Wayne-based Navigate Maternity is led by three Black women to reduce health disparities and the high maternal mortality statistics. The company produces a wearable intuitive monitoring system that collects data and can notify providers of any significant changes or alarming trends.

“What continues to motivate me is that I want other mothers to have that same experience,” MeGee told Business of Health Reporter Kylie Veleta. “I want them to be able to enjoy being a mom and not fear death and not fear ‘will something bad happen to me because somebody doesn’t listen,’ or ‘we’re not taking the appropriate steps to ensure my safety and to ensure the safety of my child.’”

The system monitors things like blood pressure, heart rate and weight. Their vitals can be accessed by the mother’s care team in real-time, which the company says serves as a more proactive approach to perinatal care.

Indiana has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the country at 44 deaths per 100,000 live births, according to a 2022 Indiana University Public Policy Institute study. The U.S. has the highest rate among developed countries and has one that is rising, the report said. Structural inequities and provider bias contribute to a disproportionate number of Black women falling into that statistic, according to the report.

In addition to biometric data, McGee said they also evaluate environmental factors like housing, food insecurity and social deterrents. All of which are important to connecting someone with the appropriate resources, she said.

Mental health is another large piece, MeGee said, and Navigate captures that type of data, too, about mothers during pregnancy and postpartum.

“As a mom of four, I’ve experienced that, and it can be scary and daunting,” she said. “And so mental health is very key to understanding the full picture of our patients.”

The product is FDA-cleared and has a partnership with Epic, the largest provider of medical records software including MyChart. The device is also covered under Medicaid, which pays for just under half of the country’s births. McGee said it’s those people who need to use Medicaid who need this technology.

Their leadership team reflects the community they are seeking to bring a solution, she said, which in turn means they understand and empathize with the barriers and issues that patient population must overcome. They also reflect a sliver of Black women in the medtech industry, who bring a different perspective to healthcare that could benefit their patients.

“It is our sisters, it is our mothers, it is our daughters that are the ones that are dying,” she said. “That gives us a much different perspective when approaching the market and approaching a solution to impact and improve outcomes.

Navigate Maternity will be piloted starting in January with the University of Louisville, Humana and the State of Kentucky. They won a $100,000 grant from the Reconstruct Challenge and are a finalist in the American Heart Association EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator. MeGee was also honored with the inaugural Pioneer Award from the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership. The company will also be a part of the Texas Medical Center’s accelerator next fall.

Story Continues Below

Get Insightful, Cutting-Edge Content Daily - Join "The Neo Jim Crow" Newsletter!

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Get Insightful, Cutting-Edge, Black Content Daily - Join "The Neo Jim Crow" Newsletter!

We don’t spam! Read our [link]privacy policy[/link] for more info.

Get Insightful, Cutting-Edge, Black Content Daily - Join "The Neo Jim Crow" Newsletter!

We don’t spam! Read our [link]privacy policy[/link] for more info.

This post was originally published on this site