Healthcare & Medical Research
Supporting & Promoting Midwifery -- a fast-growing profession in Canada
Upon entering the offices of the Midwives Association of BC, you immediately notice the welcoming atmosphere and the friendliness of the staff. Many of us at Exware did not have more than a cursory understanding of what being a midwife entailed but we came away from this project with a greater appreciation of the challenges facing the profession and a profound respect for the work that they do.
The Midwives Association of British Columbia (MABC) is the professional association for midwives in BC. In 2014, the association entered into a well publicized and lengthy contract negotiation with the government of BC and reached an agreement in December of that year for funding to improve programs and access to midwifery around the province.
Midwifery in Canada is a fast-growing profession and BC is leading Canada in midwife assisted births. "Midwives were involved in 9,175 births in the province last year — about 21 per cent of the total number of births - according to Alix Bacon, President of MABC, in a report released in 2016.
The MABC website needed to be modernized as a central hub to provide up-to-date information to the public on how and where to access midwifery care. Central to that was providing easy-to-use tools for midwives to update their own listings and add information on their places of practice to a searchable map on the website.
Find a Midwife
Search for a midwife by language, community, and/or the ability to provide care to refugees through the Interim Federal Health Program (IFH)
The association sought a faster and more efficient way of administering an array of member services to an ever growing membership.
After a series of meetings at the MABC office, the project began in earnest in the Winter of 2015. Requirements gathering sessions were held and specifications were painstakingly mapped out into specification documents. Exware held biweekly sprints with the development team and architected a series of custom modules which would integrate with the core ExSite AMS.
Of these, the most challenging module was an automated system for which midwives could change their midwifery registration status which in turn affected their payments for professional liability insurance accessed via membership with MABC.
Although at first glance, such a system seemed simple enough, it was complicated by the great number of statuses including but not limited to general registration, conditional registration and temporary registration. Each status carried its own pricing for insurance. In addition, midwives could make quarterly or annual payments and schedule payments in advance which meant that credit cards needed to be tokenized into a vault and provide automatic refunds when necessary.
In addition, systems were built for two important services offered by the association - the Midwife Emergency Skills Program and the Rural Locum Program.
Midwifery Emergency Skills Program (MESP) Course Listings
In this province, the College of Midwives of BC requires that midwives recertify every 2 years through a process of online self-directed study in conjunction with participation in a 4-hour workshop guided by an MESP certified facilitator. Such a program ensures that all midwives in the province are up-to-date on the latest skills to manage care in a variety of emergency situations. The Exware team had lengthy discussions with the program coordinators mapping out tools for course facilitators to post workshops and for midwives to register, as well as to download certificates upon completion of a workshop.
The objective of the second major program - the Rural Locum Program - is to increase the sustainability of rural midwifery in BC by assisting midwives to take reasonable periods of leave from midwifery practice.
Existing job placement tools built into the Exware system were extended to provide midwives real time information on placement opportunities which they could then apply to via a moderated process.
Rural Locum Program
The Rural Midwife Locum Program benefits both midwives and families in rural and remote locations, where arranging time off for midwives is particularly challenging. The program affords rural midwives a much needed break, while maintaining essential services to families in the smaller BC communities.
Work on the system continues to this day as we continue to explore new opportunities to empower the MABC team to take on new tasks. It continues to be a pleasure to work with everyone at MABC. Unexpectedly, months after the first phase of the website launched, we received a package sent to our offices in Gastown. Inside we received a genuinely nice surprise - a dart board with a photo of the MABC team printed on its surface. Not only are the team at MABC a pleasure to work with but they also have a wicked sense of humor.
"Exware's staff is an amazing team of dedicated individuals. They spent hours in meetings with us listening closely and asking questions until they understood the many aspects of our organization. They continued to work closely with us as they developed the automation process and the membership database. We now have automated processes for our member registration and renewal and for our continuing education program, which is very exciting! In addition, they provided a platform for our Rural Midwife Locum Program which enables midwives to post and apply for the locum positions within the locum program.
As the association continues to grow and change, Exware's knowledgeable staff are always available to us with their ideas and support. We are very happy with their service and delighted that they are part of the MABC website team."