Digital Clinical consultation in Maternity Care

A realist inquiry into maternity care at a distance (ARM@DA)

The ARM@DA project is an evidence synthesis project using a realist approach. The project aim is to understand how digital clinical consultations can work to support safe, personalised and appropriate maternity care and to clarify when they might be most appropriately used, for whom, when, and in what contexts.

What is the project about

The Maternity Transformation Programme in England aims to create safer, kinder, more personalised and family friendly care.

A core work stream is ‘harnessing digital technology’. The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the context for this digital policy imperative. One of the most commonly reported Covid-related changes to maternity services has been an increase in the use of digital clinical consultations (remote/virtual consultations) using telephone or video-calling.

Although digital clinical consultations may now be widespread in maternity services, the ways in which they can optimally be utilised in future along the care pathway remains unclear. It is particularly important to ensure that the increased use of digital clinical consultations does not lead to inequalities in care and does not exclude any groups of women or their partners.

National guidance has been developed quickly to guide professional practice around digital clinical consultations but there has not, to date, been a comprehensive review of the evidence base to inform future service developments or future research in this area of maternity care. 

This project seeks to engage with diverse groups of service users and maternity care professionals to ensure that the full range of issues and experiences involved in using digital clinical consultations is understood.

Core Activities

people graphic

Consultation with expert service user and professional stakeholders

digital graphic

Providing an in-depth review of existing literature around digital clinical consultations

Interviews with a small number of key informants

How can I get involved?

If you are a maternity care professional or a service user with experience of receiving pregnancy-related care via phone or video, please do get in touch and we will let you know of any opportunities to get involved. 

Who is funding the project?

The project is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) – HS&DR programme (grant number 134535). The views expressed are those of the project team and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.

When is the project starting and finishing?

The project is running for 18 months from February 2022 to July 2023

Get in touch

To find out more about how you can get involved, contact us:

Dr Catrin Evans

Principal Investigator