Identifying the needs for a web-based postpartum platform among parents of newborns and health care professionals: qualitative focus group study
JMIR Formative Research , Volume 4 - Issue 5
Background: During the turbulent postpartum period, there is an urgent need by parents for support and information regarding the care for their infant. In the Netherlands, professional support is provided during the first 8 days postpartum and for a maximum of 8 hours a day. This care is delivered by maternity care assistants (MCAs). Despite the availability of this extensive care, a majority of women prefer to make use of a lesser amount of postpartum care. After this period, access to care is less obvious. Where parents are automatically offered care in the first 8 days after birth, they must request care in the period thereafter. To compensate for a possible gap in information transfer, electronic health (eHealth) can be a valuable, easily accessible addition to regular care. Objective: We explored the needs and preferred content by new parents and health care professionals of a web-based platform dedicated to the postpartum period and identified barriers and facilitators for using such a platform. Methods: We conducted 3 semistructured focus groups among (1) parents of newborns, (2) MCAs, and (3) clinicians and administrators in maternity care. A topic list based on a framework designed for innovation processes was used. Thematic content analysis was applied. Results: In the focus group for parents, 5 mothers and 1 male partner participated. A total of 6 MCAs participated in the second focus group. A total of 5 clinicians and 2 administrators—a member of a stakeholder party and a manager of a maternity care organization—participated in the third focus group. All user groups underlined that a platform focusing on the postpartum period was missing in current care, especially by parents experiencing a gap following the intensive care ending after the first week of childbirth. Parents indicated that they would perceive a postpartum platform as a proper source of reliable information on topics regarding breastfeeding, growth, and developmental milestones, but also as a tool to support them in seeking care with appropriate professionals. They also emphasized the need to receive personalized information and the opportunity to ask questions via the platform. MCAs acknowledged added value of providing additional information on topics that they address during the early postpartum period. MCAs as well as clinicians and administrators would guide parents to such a platform for additional support. All user groups experienced disadvantages of using an authentication procedure and filling out extra questionnaires to receive tailored information. Conclusions: Our research shows that parents of newborns, MCAs, and clinicians and administrators foresee the additional value of a web-based postpartum platform for at least the whole postpartum period. The platform should be easily accessible and personalized. Content on the platform should contain information regarding breastfeeding, growth, and developmental milestones. A chat function with professionals could be considered as an option.
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Laureij, L.T. (Lyzette T.), Breunis, L.J. (Leonieke J.), Steegers-Theunissen, R.P.M. (Regine P.M.), & Rosman, A.N. (2020). Identifying the needs for a web-based postpartum platform among parents of newborns and health care professionals: qualitative focus group study. JMIR Formative Research, 4(5). doi:10.2196/16202