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Four Ways to Lower the Rate of Maternal Mortality

New mothers are some of the most vulnerable patients who are admitted to a hospital. An estimated 1,200 U.S. women suffer complications during pregnancy or childbirth that will ultimately become fatal and another estimated 60,000 suffer complications that are near-fatal with lifelong health implications.

Many of these tragic events can be prevented. We know the key to improving maternal death rates and preventing complications is to create a standard approach to healthcare processes that reduces variation in care. However, this must be done through highly-reliable, evidence-based clinical practices and continuous quality improvement efforts that are sustained overtime.

In our work with hospitals to lower the rate of maternal mortality and morbidity, we have identified four keys to success.

  • Hospitals need to implement and sustain a standardized approach to managing known obstetric complications and emergencies related to pregnancy and childbirth.
  • Providers must recognize and properly modify care for pregnant women that present with chronic conditions, such as hypertension, diabetes and obesity, which contribute to pregnancy-related complications.
  • Clinicians and healthcare leaders should have access to comprehensive clinical data on maternal health outcomes. Creating a maternal mortality review board allows providers to collect data on known causes for maternal death and harm.
  • Patients, clinicians and nurses, as well as the healthcare agencies supporting them, should participate in routine educational training sessions on how to prevent maternal harm and death, including reliable strategies and processes to mitigate unintended outcomes.

How We’re Tackling Maternal Mortality Rates

At Premier, we work with the Council on Patient Safety in Women’s Health Care, which has developed key maternal patient safety bundles targeting the most common reasons for maternal death and harm. These bundles outline what every birthing facility in the U.S. should be doing and provide resources and tools to help clinicians and healthcare organizations develop reliable strategies to improve outcomes.

Through Premier’s partnership with the Council, Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health (AIM) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, we have supported the development of and are implementing these bundles within hospitals and women’s healthcare facilities on a rolling basis across the U.S. In a series of educational modules, we’ve developed core training materials for AIM that are publicly available on their website and HealthSTREAM.

When Standardizing Highly-Reliable Practices Pays Off

Almost immediately after Premier helped a hospital in Louisiana implement a massive transfusion policy based on the AIM module for post-partum hemorrhage, a new mother presented with post-partum hemorrhage. By following the standard policy, their clinicians and nurses were able to save the new mother’s life. They continue to attribute lives saved to the AIM educational modules.

A true culture of maternal safety warrants collaboration, education and the standardization of data-driven, highly-reliable care delivery practices. As the implementation of the maternal patient safety bundles and other quality improvement efforts are scaled across the industry, we can start to impact maternal mortality rates in the U.S., one new mother at a time.

Have questions about best practices in perinatal care delivery? Check out the AIM educational modules or visit www.premierinc.com/bundleofjoy for more information on how Premier is improving maternal health.

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