Whilst the new version of Baby Buddy launched nationally in November 2021 to support all families across the UK, three local healthcare systems have been working directly with Best Beginnings to localise the app and embed the resource into their maternity and early years care pathways. 

Surrey Heartlands ICS, North East London LMNS and Leeds City Council are all benefitting from a personalised maternity and child health digital resource that is enhancing the work of front-line multidisciplinary professionals in each locality, and have also seen a dramatic increase in uptake and usage by parents and parents-to-be. 

Best Beginnings’ localisation, embedding and data reporting services deliver a personalised, evidence-based, and accessible digital intervention that supports digital transformation requirements and local implementation of the Better Births Review and the Healthy Child Programme. Our programmes are tailored to meet the needs and priorities of each locality that we work with. If you would like to speak with Best Beginnings about localising and embedding Baby Buddy into your local healthcare system, please email [email protected] 

Watch a short promo film for Baby Buddy Leeds; one of the Baby Buddy 2.0 trailblazer sites. 

Surrey Heartlands ICS 

Surrey Heartlands Integrated Care System is an exemplar model for joined up care between NHS organisations, the local authority, and other partners that take joint responsibility for improving the health of Surrey’s predominantly urban population. Absent in this system, was provision of high-quality, accessible, and engaging information and advice for parents on their maternity and early years journey in Surrey; this is where Baby Buddy 2.0 came in. This project, the very first of our trailblazer sites, set out to address many local health priorities including healthy weight gain in pregnancy, reduction of unnecessary A&E attendance, increased infant immunisation rates, and improved health of Gypsy, Roma, and Traveller health.  

Commissioned to work with the ICS over a two-year period, Best Beginnings began a 9-month discovery phase that included roundtables with multi-disciplinary professionals and parents, in-depth Interviews with front-line staff and maternity voices partnerships (MVPs), and meetings with senior managers across maternity and 0-19 child health services. This assets-based approach established an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of existing information provision and active use of digital resources such as maternity notes and child health records. It also built an energy for engagement with Baby Buddy across all services, from senior clinical commissioners to frontline midwives, community group and parent advocates.  

Local signposting and priority messaging was gathered from all stakeholders to build a content localisation framework that would be implemented into Baby Buddy, to turn this national resource into a curated, personalised, and local experience for all users of the app that register with a postcode within Surrey Heartlands geographic footprint. 

    

With localised content live in the app, embedding activities kicked off with a series of facilitated workshops with multi-disciplinary professionals, as well as short e-learnings provided to build understanding of Baby Buddy’s application and potential to enhance the work of healthcare professionals. This embedding activity has resulted in the training over 50 Baby Buddy Champions across Surrey Heartlands, and in turn generated significant increases in uptake of the resource across the region.  

Lead Transformation Midwife at Surrey Heartlands Charlee Gladman said, “We’ve listened to new parents in Surrey who have told us they want the knowledge and skills to look after their infants and young children well, and Baby Buddy is a brilliant resource for breaking down that information gap and reducing inequalities”. 

In tandem with curated marketing and communications campaigns, the Surrey Heartlands localisation and embedding project has been hugely impactful on the usage of Baby Buddy in the region. At baseline (January 2021), 6.65% of birth parents in Surrey were registering Baby Buddy 1.0. At the point of local launch of the Surrey Heartlands trailblazer project (January 2022), 14.7% registered of the local birth cohort registered, and this figure is growing month-by-month. The ambition of reaching over 50% of all birth parents with Baby Buddy is in sight, made possible through this transformative localisation and embedding project.  

North East London LMNS 

 The Local Maternity and Neonatal System at North East London Clinical Commissioning Group provides maternity unit services across 8 London boroughs and delivers almost 30,000 births per year. After an options appraisal of all maternity and early years apps on the market, NEL came to Best Beginnings to localise the Baby Buddy app for the locality. This project was commissioned to deliver to a prescribed list of requirements for the LMNS that were informed by the Better Births Review and the need for improved information on choice of place of birth and provision of digital personal care and support plans.  

By introducing Baby Buddy to antenatal and postnatal care pathways, NEL are working to: 

  1. Improve access to quality information for parents from early in pregnancy up-the end of the first year after birth.
  2. Improve parents’ experiences of pregnancy and parenthood by providing parents with emotional support, plus signposting to resources and services to enhance their social support networks. 
  3. Contribute towards improved maternal and neonatal health outcomes, by motivating and empowering families to safeguard and enhance their own health and wellbeing and by ensuring they know when and where to turn for support, advice and care.  

In collaboration with Best Beginnings, the NEL LMNS has been curating local content within Baby Buddy that is delivered to users of the app that have registered with a postcode within the locality. Users are also benefitting from the localisation of surveys through the app. Co-creation workshops with Maternity Voice Partnerships is enabling parents and parents-to-be in Waltham Forest, Newham and Tower Hamlets to share feedback on their experiences of local maternity services through Baby Buddy. This feedback flows directly to support the work of MVP Chairs to inform service improvement on the ground.  

                    

Best Beginnings will be working with NEL LMNS to localise Baby Buddy for three years, with live data being provided to monitor uptake, usage and user feedback on a population level for the duration of the project.   

 

Leeds City Council 

Best Beginnings has a history of fantastic collaborations with Leeds, Harrogate and West Yorkshire local maternity and public health teams, including the UCLAN evaluation of our resources. As one of the 25 localities to have embedded the original version of Baby Buddy, there was already a high level of engagement with Baby Buddy 2.0 when initially launched in November 2022. Committed to Baby Buddy as a integral resource in maternity, health visiting and community service provision across the region, Leeds has re-commissioned Best Beginnings to localise and embed the new iteration of Baby Buddy.  

Localised content has been integrated into the app, and training of Baby Buddy Champions has been enabled through e-learning modules produced by Baby Buddy. Concurrent to upskilling multi-disciplinary professionals who are key conduit to informing parents and parents-to-be of the benefits of Baby Buddy, has been the development of extra film content that is being produced with local families and health care professionals to further localise the experience of the app. After just 3 months of the project, downloads of Baby Buddy 2.0 in Leeds have exceeded 40% of the local birth cohort.   

This graph presents the top 30 local authorities in terms of Baby Buddy 2.0 registrations as a percentage of local birth cohorts. The purple local authorities represent areas that are supported by our trailblazer sites.  

Through Best Beginnings’ carefully planned localisation and embedding programmes, we have demonstrated the impact of this nationally available resource, enhanced to meet the needs of local populations. If you would like to speak with Best Beginnings about localising and embedding Baby Buddy into your local healthcare system, please email [email protected]