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Smartphones have been playing a crucial role for expectant women to receive information raising their health literacy, and many mobile apps have either been launched or revamped to cater to this growing audience. Going forward, such apps may become a regular part of the healthcare system providing reliable and certified health information. Women in developing countries, where smartphones are a luxury, receive such information through SMS or use of Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) protocol to communicate with their service provider’s computers via text messages. Various countries, including the United States, are implementing new models, especially in large urban areas, to conduct virtual home visits to address the critical support needs of pregnant women. Midwives in developing countries are also starting to use this mechanism to connect with expectant women using tablets with built-in SIM cards. Some of these models might become part of a wider maternal health system even after the end of the pandemic. Interactive Voice Response has also found an increased use as women can call a number and self-navigate through pre-recorded information before reaching an operator. In a number of southern African countries, the United Nations Population Fund has provided tablets and smart projectors to midwives to promote distance learning. These pre-configured tablets have apps that are preloaded with animated content and health videos. The tablets can also aid virtual or augmented reality-based learning. All these means are presenting opportunities to collect vital personally non-identifiable health information related to maternal health. The volume of information will come in handy as artificial intelligence-driven algorithms are developed to perform predictive analysis of the issues related to maternal health with an ultimate goal of reducing maternal mortality. ....

As appeared in Medpage Today on June 30, 2020.

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