Date of release: 5 May 2021
As the Lead Digital Midwife for RWT, Bernie Williams is at the forefront of digital innovation in maternity care.
Bernie, who was previously a nurse within neuro-surgery at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, joined the Trust in 1996 after undergoing her midwifery training. She has since worked across a number of different maternity specialities.
Within her current role Bernie heads up the management of the Maternity and Neonatal IT system, Badgernet and the woman’s notes app ‘Mat Notes’ which has an average of 5000 women using it at any one time, at all different stages of their pregnancy journey.
“When I started in midwifery we were totally reliant on face-to-face / paper-based communication. I don’t think ‘digital’ was really a word back then! The teams at New Cross were so forward-thinking and we went live with Badger in April 2018. We wanted to make sure we were utilising technology in a way that would benefit our women and their families. This is where the app came in and we are now virtually paperless in Maternity.”
The app itself enables women to see all of their pregnancy records, including scan and blood results, while also offering educational resources and a virtual video tour of the maternity unit for women wanting to see where they will be giving birth. All of their appointments show on the app and they get text reminders and push notification messages.
She said: “Badgernet has been essential during the COVID-19 pandemic; it has enabled us know about all of our women easily, to push out updates as and when the national guidance changed and to quickly share information relating to their care. We have been able to focus on certain groups of women and contact them directly to offer support and advice.”
“The app puts the information in the hands of the woman and empowers them to be in control of their own care and to play an active part in it.”
When Bernie was asked if she had a stand-out moment in her career, she replied: “I have had a few, but most recently I think coming up with the idea of a ‘Midwifery Hub’ at the start of the pandemic, where midwives would be the first point of contact for the women and where care could be delivered virtually, is definitely one. Luckily, we have had some fabulous staff working in the hub who have been able to bring my ideas to reality and which the women have told us has really helped.”
“For me, International Day of the Midwife means a time to reflect on the value of midwives to women around the world and the importance they play in all care settings.”
Thank you Bernie!