PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Department of Public Health and Pacify, a health technology company that provides 24/7 infant feeding support to new parents, have announced a year-long extension of their partnership to improve access to maternal health services for Philadelphia families.
This extends Pacify and the Health Department’s 2020 partnership, which was launched as an emergency intervention to improve access to care during the pandemic. Since then, more than 2,200 Philadelphia families have used Pacify’s services, placing more than 2,500 calls to Pacify for free virtual lactation support.
“We’ve seen how virtual lactation support is a crucial resource for Philadelphia families during COVID-19 and believe we can positively support families in reaching their breastfeeding goals by continuing to provide this valuable service to all Philadelphians,” said Stacey Kallem, MD, MSHP, Director of the Health Department’s Division of Maternal, Child, and Family Health (MCFH). “This is just one example of our ongoing work to improve maternal and child health in Philadelphia.”
Families call Pacify with infant-feeding related questions such as milk supply, latch, engorgement, medication(s), hunger cues, feeding patterns, weaning, introducing solids and more. In addition to the lactation support, families who enroll in Pacify receive tailored messages with local resources and health information based on the age of their infant. Calls placed through Pacify are answered by certified lactation consultants in Philadelphia, or, if a provider within the city is not available, by a lactation consultant from Pacify’s nationwide network.
“Families tell me how easy it is to use the Pacify app, especially those who have just delivered or who have other children at home,” said Galissa Jones, Breastfeeding Counselor, Community Outreach, and Health Equity Co-Lead for MCFH, who provides breastfeeding support through Pacify. “The questions asked may vary but the impact is the same: Families feel the app is so helpful to getting their questions answered in the environment of their choice, feeling supported and validated.”
Over the course of the Health Department’s partnership with Pacify, 42% of calls were placed outside of normal clinic hours. Preliminary results of a follow-up survey of Philadelphia Pacify clients indicate that people who had at least one call with a Pacify provider had higher rates of breastfeeding at six months than people who did not. Approximately 30% of Pacify clients who had at least one call with a lactation counselor did so within 24 hours of downloading the app. Nearly 20% of all calls were answered by a local provider and, on average, families rated their experience 4.9 / 5 stars.
Since 2016, Pacify has supported more than 100,000 families annually through its work with public health programs across the country. Additionally, in a study conducted by the RAND Corporation, Pacify demonstrated that virtual lactation services improve breastfeeding rates among women in underserved areas. This project recently received additional funding from the National Institutes of Health.
Philadelphia residents can download the Pacify app on their smartphones at no cost and use the code PHILLY for free sign-up. More information is available at https://www.pacify.com/pdph.
MCFH also connects families who are expecting or have young children to support professionals through Philly Families CAN, offers free Pack ‘n Plays to promote safe sleep, and convenes citywide coalitions to reduce disparities in infant and maternal mortality.
Pacify provides 24/7 infant feeding support to new and expecting parents. Pacify’s network of IBCLCs and registered nurses have helped families nationwide, resulting in reduced costs and improved outcomes for clients including WIC programs, Departments of Health, home visiting programs, managed care organizations, hospitals, non-profit organizations and employers. Learn more about Pacify by visiting www.pacify.com.