Interning in Telehealth – Unveiling Motherhood in the U.S

With a wide range of potential careers, I thought graduating as a communications major meant that a lot of doors would automatically open for me. What I didn’t anticipate was graduating in the midst of the 2019 Pandemic. The world was basically on pause for a whole year and so was my career. It was almost impossible to find a job or internship with the ongoing economic fallout and budget cuts. Especially as 25% of adults in the U.S who did have experience were facing job losses and lay offs. Despite my best efforts it was becoming increasingly difficult to find opportunities as a freshly graduated college student.

Finding My Footing in Tech

The tech industry was the last place I expected to find an opportunity. I thought tech jobs were reserved for those who knew how to fix systems or complete software updates. When offered the opportunity to intern for ViTel Net I feared I lacked the skills and knowledge to be successful. As my internship went on, I quickly came to understand the significant impact that telehealth was having on improving access to quality care. It made me feel proud to work for a company that was contributing to positive change. Often I found myself excited to do new tasks, and take part in new projects.

One of the first projects I got to work on focused on Maternal Health in the U.S. I was familiar with the ongoing disparities in access to care and the impact that challenges like systemic racism were having on minority groups, as I had seen happen to members of my own family. What I didn’t realize was the state that maternal health was in as a whole in the U.S.

Key challenges facing expectant parents today include “High-risk pregnancies, barriers to proper care, gaps in the prenatal to postnatal care cycle, and glaring disparities in mortality and morbidity rates among underserved and minority populations.” Throughout my work in this project I gained an understanding for the wide range of challenges facing women before, during and after birth. Listening to the stories of the women was one of the most significant moments of my internship. As a woman in my early 20s who hasn’t experienced pregnancy or childbirth, I found their stories incredibly disturbing.

I had only previously seen how factors like unconscious bias and discrimination could significantly impact outcomes for minority groups, as was the case for my sister-in-law. After giving birth to my second nephew, she knew instantly that something didn’t feel right. She pleaded for her labor and delivery team to listen only to be met with hesitation as they insisted that it was natural exhaustion from bearing the baby. Shortly after giving birth her skin started turning gray and her energy levels started to drop but despite her intuition she no longer had the energy to keep advocating for herself. After taking her blood work the following day they finally noticed that she was losing a considerable amount of blood and immediately had to give her a blood transfusion. By the time she got the care that was needed it was almost too late. There is not enough proactive care throughout pregnancy to properly address potential complications and reduce maternal morbidity and mortality rates.

Telehealth Closing Gaps in 
Maternity Care

And though it’s alarming to know how much work there is to be done to improve conditions for expectant parents, it’s equally relieving to know that advancements in technologies like telehealth are making it much easier to close the gaps. Telehealth platforms like ViTel Net’s are increasing collaboration between clinicians to mitigate high-risk pregnancies, improving access to care for underserved populations, and reduce the cost of care for patients and clinicians.

Working with ViTel Net has given me alot of perspective on what I can expect, prepare for, and anticipate in my own future pregnancy journey. This experience has changed the way I view tech and has shown me the potential and room for change that can almost immediately improve conditions for current and future families. As someone who looks forward to having a family someday, this experience at ViTel Net has been very eye opening and I am privileged to have been a part of it.