A Woman Who Changes Women’s Lives
For Sigi Marmorstein, starting a business is very much like raising a baby. It requires dedication, love, and strength. Though painful and hard at times, it is a mission that is totally worth it. BabyLiveAdvice’s (BLA) mission is to reduce costly complications and close gaps in maternal and infant care by using tech-enabled professional providers in collaboration with health organizations, employers, and insurers to provide remote education, monitoring, and support to expectant mothers and new parents.
Sigi began her career as a NICU/Peds nurse in 1996 at a newborn nursery. “I was there at the beginning of new life to hold those tiny hands in mine while I encouraged, educated, and supported new parents,” she recalls. However, when it came to having her own babies, Sigi sadly went through harsh labor experiences with both her sons, ending up in NICU. “I remember dealing with my pregnancies and motherhood with much anxiety and stress.” As a nurse and a nurse practitioner, she later met with moms who were less knowledgeable or fortunate than herself. They struggled with food securities, abusive relationships, drug and abuse, and lack of care access, unwanted pregnancies, and more. She was determined to make a difference.
A go-getter and compassionate leader, Sigi did not have a second thought when she began BLA in 2018, after three years in a clinical pilot, assessing M-health utilization in maternal health. Today, BLA’s digital platform features both video and chat components so moms can easily get help online from a healthcare provider such as a midwife, nurse, nurse practitioner, lactation consultant, doulas, and more. They provide both live group classes and individual live support via telehealth technologies, both in English and in Spanish, from preconception to 2 years of age. To date, BabyLiveAdvice was able to show tremendous results in reducing preterm labors, NICU admissions, C-sections, and postpartum complications like infection and bleeding. They deliver improved patient and provider satisfaction and improved exclusive breastfeeding initiation in 66 percent of their mothers.
“The goal, on the most fundamental level, is to save the lives of mothers and their babies. Broadly, we set out to close the gap by using technology and care collaboration at its highest level to provide the right care at the right time to every mom and child regardless of location, race, economic status, and access to care providers,” says Sigi. To achieve this level of success, technology has been serving as the backbone of BLA. Her experience as a telehealth consultant enabled Sigi to use her knowledge and connectivity in the industry to merge technology with clinical practice. “Partnering with Milton Chen, the CEO of Vsee, we set up and built an end-to-end solution with integrated EMR and telemonitoring capacity.” Fast forward to the present day, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, BLA has seen a surge in users. “The outbreak accelerated BLA’s growth. As pregnant women posed the highest risk in this pandemic, virtual care was needed to continue and safely support women and their babies. BLA was well positioned to take this challenge head on,” points out Sigi.
Healthcare, as Sigi says, unlike banking and retail, requires much human touch and compassion. Often the advanced technology forces have wiped these away from the industry, though it has helped with predictive data and analytics that drive better decision making. With BLA, Sigi aims to bring compassionate, non-biased care to women everywhere. This has not been an easy journey. Being a woman founder has proven to be a particularly more challenging road for the business, yet not insurmountable by any means. It is truly a “man’s world,” but Sigi believes that only a woman can design a program that is ultimately meant to change women’s lives. “I was blessed that through my twenty-four year career as a nurse, nurse practitioner, educator, manager, and consultant, I met many wonderful friends and colleagues all of whom came to my aid and helped shape and establish a company I am very proud of,” she claims. And it is that very passion, patience, and persistence that drives her to make BLA her fourth baby.
In 2020, BLA became the winner of the nurse innovation challenge by Johnson and Johnson, which is now supporting the company’s growth in many of ways. The March of Dimes also trusted BLA and its technology and partnered with them last year. To date, BabyLiveAdvice had served thousands of parents through contracts with few hospitals’ medical groups and employer groups. BLA just got accepted to 1501 health accelerator, a year-long incubation and investment program with Healthworx, the innovation and investment arm of CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, and LifeBridge Health which will support the company growth. With seed investment recently secured this “BABY,” as Sigi calls it, “is growing and thriving.”