A professor at the University of Virginia hopes to improve health care for mothers and children in the United States through a computer application for nurse home visitors.
The computer app is part of the Domestic Violence Enhanced Home Visitation (DOVE) research study that aims to make it easier to gather information surrounding sensitive issues for women receiving prenatal home visits.
UVA School of Nursing is developing an app that is built to learn more about the personal lives of women receiving prenatal home visits.
Doctor Linda Bullock, the associate dean of research at the UVA School of Nursing, said, "We need to look at, is what can be impacting pregnancy or a women's ability to parent?"
Early home visitation is set up to improve pregnancy outcomes for families and prevent child abuse. Dr. Bullock says research proves people are more willing to uncover situations like abusive relationships, drug addiction and depression via technology.
"We know from research that many people are able to answer more sensitive information via a computer or text messaging," Dr. Bullock said.
Students taking part in the study agree.
Abbie Marter, a UVA School of Nursing Ph.D. student, said, "Say you've seen somebody for the first time, you've never met them before and you're going to ask them, ‘Are you depressed? Do you feel like you've been losing sleep?' It's not a natural thing to ask. It's not a natural thing to respond to in an honest way."
Women being visited will be given headphones and a tablet where they can sit down in their own home and answer questions such as have you ever been physically abused by your partner, ex-partner, or the father of the baby?
The application is a small part of the DOVE research study that's funded by a $4 million grant from the National Institute for Health. Researchers hope it will enable home visitors to provide better health care for women and children across the nation.
"Help the women decide what can be best done to protect herself and her health and also the health of her children, and to be a better mother," Dr. Bullock said.
This study will focus on rural parts of Virginia and Missouri, as well as urban Baltimore.
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