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Here’s a shocking fact: more women in the U.S. die during childbirth than in any other developed country, and experts think the problem will likely get worse. Since 1990, countries like South Korea and Germany have seen a sharp decline in the number of women who die in childbirth, while U.S. rates have been steadily increasing. But why? Experts attribute this trend to the rise in chronic health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, women giving birth at older ages, rural access issues, and untreated maternal mental health problems. These health issues put women at greater risk for pregnancy and childbirth complications.
Even for healthy women, childbirth can be unpredictably dangerous. With proper education, training, preparation, and protocols, even the deadliest of complications can result in a happy ending. Kristen Terlizzi’s story is an excellent example of this. Had Terlizzi not given birth in California, she may not have lived. Lucky for her, the Stanford clinicians who managed her complicated pregnancy were prepared with precise protocols.
In 2016, Stanford health professionals decided to improve maternal mortality data collection, as well as protocols for life-threatening emergencies, and created the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative (CMQCC), an initiative to make childbirth safer for moms. Despite the rise in deaths during childbirth across the country, California’s maternal mortality rate has declined by 55 percent between 2006 to 2013. If California can do it, so can the rest of the country.
OB Hospitalist Group (OBHG) provides the nation’s best OB hospitalist programs, and we believe that one of the best ways to lower mortality and improve maternal outcomes nationwide is to implement 24/7 OB coverage and an obstetric emergency department. But effective coverage is more than just a warm body in a white coat. OBHG provides all the pieces that make for a successful OB hospitalist program, and our mission revolves around saving the lives of mothers and babies. Here are three ways that OBHG goes above and beyond:
We recruit top-quality clinicians
OBHG clinicians have years of experience and are trained in best practices for labor management and obstetric emergencies. They undergo rigorous vetting by our recruiting team and are chosen based on their emphasis of service and collaboration. We understand that patient safety and excellent outcomes happen when every team member understands his or her role and is valued in it. Our clinicians share and discuss best practices via an OBHG intranet, and we keep our clinicians up to date on the latest evidence-based research in OB hospitalist medicine. Our clinicians not only participate in simulation drills, they lead them, recognizing that communication and practice are the keys to managing life-threatening emergencies.
We maintain the highest level of education and training
Our clinicians can assist our hospital partners in an analysis of labor & delivery best practices and protocols. We require biannual education and testing of our entire clinician workforce in post-partum hemorrhage, shoulder dystocia, electronic fetal monitoring interpretation and pre-eclampsia/hypertension. We encourage active participation by our clinicians in all OB department committee meetings where policies and procedures are discussed and analyzed. If a hospital is implementing a new protocol, such as use of tranexamic acid for post-partum hemorrhage, our clinicians have access to protocols on our internal clinician-only website.
We bring standardization of practice and implementation of protocols
Data sharing and metric analysis – OBHG provides real-time metrics and quality analytics. We take the guesswork out of quality improvement. Our clinicians receive monthly dashboards with detailed analytics describing the quality and acuity of their care. Among our clinicians, there’s a healthy competition to strive to be the best. We know that economic forces put ever more pressure on quality metrics tied to reimbursement and our clinicians will be your partner in quality.
From the moment of conception to the placement of new life on a mother’s chest, from the sound of the first heartbeat to the day a family takes their baby or babies, home, we know that the unforeseen and unexpected can suddenly happen on your labor & delivery unit. As OB hospitalists, we can be the difference between life and death in those moments no one ever saw coming. We are the safety net. We are the doctors trained to care for the cheers of new life and the complications that can occur in an instant. We are the responders taking the stairs, two at a time, to the post-partum hemorrhage, the second clinician in a shoulder dystocia, the one running toward a maternal code in the emergency room. Because mothers and their babies deserve to have a doctor there to save them, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
This blog provides general information and discussion about healthcare-related subjects. The content and linked materials provided are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader is an expectant mother with a medical concern, she should consult with an appropriately licensed physician or healthcare provider.
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