OBHG physician interviewed about ‘Team Birth Project’ aimed at improving birth outcomes

While common, Cesarean sections (C-sections) pose risks for newborns and mothers, including longer recovery periods, increased risk of infections, and the possibility of injuries and even death. Moreover, many C-sections aren’t medically necessary, according to experts.

To decrease C-sections and improve birth outcomes, Ariadne Labs, a collaborative of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, launched the Team Birth Project in 2018 at a handful of sites across the country. Overlake Medical Center in Bellevue, WA, and EvergreenHealth Medical Center in Kirkland, WA, both OBHG hospital partners, are pilot sites for the initiative.

The Team Birth Project aims to overhaul how labor and delivery are handled at hospitals, from when women are admitted to how doctors and nurses communicate about the mother’s preferences and delivery plan.

A recent HealthLeaders article highlighted some of the practical steps Overlake Medical Center has taken as part of the trial and includes quotes from Overlake’s perinatal clinical nurse specialist and Dr. Lisbeth Jordan, an OBHG hospitalist and site director at Overlake.

Some select quotes from the article are below: 

The whiteboard is the “story of the labor,” says Lisbeth Jordan, MD, a hospitalist and OB Hospitalist Group site director at Overlake. “It is updated regularly—what’s going on with the baby, how the labor is progressing, and next steps with the provider. It’s a storyboard to help the family be aware of what they want, how the baby is doing, and how the labor is going.”

Open communication can be pivotal in avoiding a cesarean birth, Jordan says. “There is a shared understanding of what is going on. So, the story plays out, and the provider checks in with the nurse and the family. The idea is that it is a collaborative, team effort that can reduce unnecessary C-sections because there is shared knowledge about the whole process of labor.”

Patient experience gains are also evident, Jordan says. “The initial motivation of this initiative was to decrease C-section rates and the research outcomes are pending, but we are finding the increased communication has transformed the relationships in the entire team. Communication improves outcomes, so it may be that the most significant outcome is not decreased C-sections but a better experience for the family.”

Read the HealthLeaders article: Two ways “Team Birth Project” works to decrease maternal mortality

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