An Obstetric Emergency Department (OBED) provides timely and efficient emergency care to pregnant patients presenting with unscheduled medical needs.
While the OBED functions as an extension of a hospital’s main emergency department, it is staffed with experienced OB/GYNs and CNMs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. These clinicians, called OB hospitalists, are specialists in obstetrics medicine and practice inside the hospital.
Located in a dedicated space separate from the labor and delivery unit, the OBED treats women presenting to the hospital with pregnancy and postpartum-related obstetrical concerns. Conditions commonly treated in an OBED include abdominal pain, preterm labor, preeclampsia, abnormal vaginal bleeding, ruptured membranes, labor checks, bladder infections, decreased fetal movement, and increased blood pressure. The OBED provides pregnant women immediate access to a physician at all hours. Whether patients present with a life-endangering emergency or a less urgent need, patients are evaluated and treated quickly and efficiently by a highly trained obstetrics physician.
OB hospitalists work with private practice OB/GYNs as an extension of their team. They provide care until patients’ physicians arrive, or if there is an emergency when immediate care is required. They also care for patients that do not have a physician.
OBED versus OB Triage
In hospitals without an OBED, pregnant women are sent to an OB triage nurse in the labor and delivery department – bypassing assessment by a physician in the emergency department. The nurse then calls a doctor on call for care and the patient is either admitted or sent home. This inefficient process could take several hours.
“Pregnant patients are the only group of people who present to a hospital emergency room and do not receive treatment by a physician,” said OBHG Chief Medical Officer Dr. Mark Simon. “OBEDs are designed to close the gap in maternal care. In an OBED, you have a dedicated unit to treat emergent situations with a dedicated staff. The physician sees each and every patient and the care team works together on a plan that is beneficial to the patient. Why wouldn’t you want expectant mothers to be seen by a physician and a nurse when two lives are at stake?”
An OBED provides immediate, specialized assessment for women at all stages of pregnancy, whereas labor and delivery triage is typically the only place in a hospital where a patient arrives unscheduled for care and may leave without ever seeing a physician or licensed independent provider.
Advantages of the OBED model to hospitals
- Ensures all patients are seen by a clinician
- Enhances patient safety and quality of care
- Designed to eliminate disparity in care for pregnant patients, regardless of private versus unassigned status
- Ensures a team-based approach to continuum of care for the patient – from registration through discharge or admission
- Eliminates nurse-only triage that places scope creep pressure on nurses
- Allows lower gestational age patients receive OB specific care, not just main ED care
- More rapid identification and management of emergent issues
- Increased support for main ED for OB-trauma-based or emergency GYN presentations
- Reduction in OB medical malpractice exposure and claims
- Reinforces community provider relationships
- Improves door to physician disposition time
- Increased local provider satisfaction and productivity
- Improves patient satisfaction
- Increases nursing staff satisfaction
- Facilitates positive long-term relationships between hospitals and families
Obstetric emergency department coding, billing and compliance
At OBHG, we work closely with our hospital partners to help them stay in compliance and bill correctly. Accurate coding and billing ensures that hospitals are appropriately reimbursed based on evaluation and treatment services, patient acuity, and emergency center. Together with our hospital partners, we also keep patients front and center, working to ensure services are provided in-network and that OBED charges are not billed when a patient is admitted to labor and delivery.
Ready to learn more about the features of an OBED?
To learn more about the features and benefits of an OBED, we invite you to click on the links below to view videos produced by two of our hospital partners about their OBEDs:
We would also be happy to schedule a discussion about establishing an OBED at your hospital.