How OB hospitalists are addressing maternal mortality

The facts are shocking: the U.S. has the highest maternal death rate of any developed county. Each year, between 700 to 900 women in the U.S. die from childbirth-related causes and more than 65,000 experience life-threatening complications. This is unacceptable. It is equally unacceptable that there are significant disparities in outcomes based on factors such as race, ethnicity, geographic region, payer status, and even care models at facilities providing care.

We believe that OBHG hospitalist programs are one of the solutions to the growing rate of maternal deaths and are well-situated to help address maternal mortality and morbidity. Here are some reasons why:

Standardized protocols

OBHG has developed a standard set of protocols for delivery complications such as preeclampsia and postpartum hemorrhage. We also developed a C-section reduction toolkit to combat medically unnecessary C-sections. For benchmarking purposes, we track the data within each of our partner hospitals. When a partner hospital falls below a target, OBHG leaders work with hospital leadership to assess the situation and develop an action plan; when a hospital demonstrates differentiated performance, OBHG leaders identify opportunities to bring those results to other programs. Because our partner hospitals are part of a nationwide hospital network, each hospitalist team has access to clinicians across the country to share best practices, educate their peers, and further enhance quality of care.

Continual coverage

No matter the day or time, there is an experienced OBHG-employed hospitalist on-site, ready to evaluate patients and tackle any emergency that may come through the door. Community OB/GYNs can rest assured knowing that their patients will receive the best care if he/she cannot make it to the hospital. OBHG hospitalists give care to all, regardless of insurance type or prenatal care. Our collaborative approach helps to eliminate the “delay in care” that is associated with harm events and one-third of OB claims (22 percent related to delay in fetal distress, another nine percent with delays in delivery).

Well positioned to address postpartum care issues

OBHG programs are well-situated to help address some of the issues that arise in the postpartum period. With clinicians onsite 24/7, care is available for any patient requiring emergency care. Our hospitalist teams work closely with our hospital partners to ensure that all patients presenting with pregnancy related emergencies in the first six weeks of the postpartum period are seen by an obstetrician, either in the main emergency department or in the Obstetrics Emergency Department (OBED).

OBHG continues to broaden its approach as a necessary part of solutions around maternal morbidity and mortality. We support policies and actions advancing improved maternal and infant health and stand ready to assist in tracking root causes of maternal mortality and working across communities to implement solutions.

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