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HHS Perinatal Improvement Collaborative Aims to Improve Outcomes for Mothers and Babies Across the Nation


According to a 2019 Premier study, maternal and infant health, or perinatal health, ranked as the second most important quality improvement objective for hospitals and health systems. It ranked behind infection prevention as a priority but ahead of readmissions, post-acute care management, diabetes management and oncology care.

A Premier analysis found that from 2008-2020, U.S. hospitals achieved a 15 percent decrease in delivery-related maternal deaths. Even with delivery-related deaths declining, the instance of severe maternal morbidity (SMM) increased. SMM is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as unexpected outcomes of labor and delivery that result in significant short-term or long-term consequences to a woman’s health. Premier’s analysis showed a 38 percent increase in SMM between 2008-2020, and, in particular, Black women had an 84 percent higher rate of SMM than white women.

Today, the focus remains on improving maternal and infant health outcomes well beyond delivery. Under the leadership of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office on Women’s Health (OWH) and working with Premier, Inc, and more than 200 leading hospitals that have come together as part of the HHS Perinatal Improvement Collaborative - These efforts are aimed at understanding the key drivers of preventable harm and death, the link between maternal and infant outcomes, and insights into health disparities by sharing evidence-based best practices and working together to develop coordinated care across the continuum.

The collaborative constitutes a nationally representative sample of hospitals from all 50 states. With each hospital caring for diverse populations, together they form a health learning system to generate new insights and reliable solutions for safer care. Using the comprehensive and timely PINC AI™ Healthcare Database (PHD), a standardized data collection system and PINC AI™ Quality Enterprise, a robust data platform, the program will be able to measure the impact that implementation of nationally-endorsed perinatal bundles have on quality of care for the obstetric and neonatal populations. At its core, the initiative is a health equity effort that strives to address disparities in birth outcomes and examine how care might be reliably tailored to mothers with diverse needs, through:

  • Reliable and timely data: Up-to-date standardized data used by the collaborative will integrate administrative, quality and safety, cost and utilization, electronic health record (EHR), and social determinants data across settings, including linking mothers’ and infants’ records. This integrated data will help paint a complete picture of the patient and circumstances surrounding clinical care to improve measurement and comparisons across geographies and populations.
  • Broader lens: The collaborative will investigate the outcomes of mothers and babies individually, as well as the dyad, to understand how outcomes between the two are directly linked. Linking the inpatient data of newborns to their mothers provide an opportunity to identify if the direct causes of maternal morbidity and mortality increase a newborn’s risk of lifelong morbidity and mortality. It will also identify existing health risks of women, or those resulting from pregnancy to prevent negative health impacts for both women and their babies. This comprehensive data will help to improve data quality and enhance evaluation and research of pregnancy on overall population health.
  • Identify disparities: This collaborative aims to address health equity by identifying social determinants of health and uncovering strategies to reduce persistent racial, ethnic and geographic disparities in care to help reduce risks for mothers and babies most susceptible to poor health outcomes.

Premier is passionate about leveraging data that informs clinical best practices to help improve care for mothers and babies. We’re honored to work with the Department of Health and Human Services to continue providing gold-standard healthcare data, measurement and data analytics capabilities to help make America the safest place to give birth.

The effort will be supported by an external advisory panel comprised of more than 20 expert clinicians and thought leaders, and patient partners from MoMMA’s Voices, a coalition of advocacy organizations focused on leading causes of maternal and infant mortality and morbidity.

Further Reading

  • Learn more about Premier’s work aimed at testing and scaling quality, safety and cost improvement in care for mothers and babies through the Bundle of Joy™ Campaign.
  • Check out Premier’s comprehensive data analysis encompassing 21 percent of U.S. births to identify risk factors for maternal and infant mortality and morbidity, including breakdowns by age, race, payer and delivery method.

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