Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Preventing Birth Injuries

A national collaborative called the Premier Perinatal Safety Initiative is comprised of 16 hospitals in 12 states where nearly 115,000 babies will be delivered. According to Representative Shelley Moore Capito (R-WVA), “Infants in the U.S. experience close to three birth injuries for every 1,000 births many of which are preventable." She is the co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Infant Health and Safety.

There are five recurring clinical issues such as failure to recognize an infant in distress, failure to initiate a timely cesarean birth, failure to properly resuscitate a depressed baby, inappropriate use of labor-inducing drugs, and inappropriate use of vacuum or forceps are responsible for the majority of perinatal harm and associated costs.

Perinatal team members at participating hospitals in the collaborative will conduct simulations for certain high risk protocols. The data will be collected and the results will be measured against benchmarks from similar hospitals. Customized harm measures that have been developed will be analyzed with the assistance of the National Perinatal Information Center. Expertise in team building and simulations and data analysis will be provided to the group by the University Of Minnesota School Of Public Health.

In Maryland, Governor O’Malley has just announced the availability of a perinatal safety grant for $469,000 to be awarded to the Perinatal Collaborative operating in 25 hospitals by the Maryland Patient Safety Center. The Perinatal Collaborative is one part of a comprehensive public health initiative called “Babies Born Healthy” that was launched in 2006 by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Activities to be undertaken will help participating hospitals learn best practices for electronic fetal monitoring, improved communications training, emergency simulation, and safe delivery techniques. The program also provides hospitals with the tools necessary to measure outcomes and improve safety.