All organizations should ensure their obstetrics patients receive the highest quality, evidence-based care throughout their delivery. To do this, organizations must ensure that staff are aware of best practices and can easily follow them.
Adopting evidence-based care standards
Organizations must start with adopting best practice safety protocols if they haven’t already. The Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health (AIM) has developed open-access, data-driven maternal safety bundles for hospitals and health systems to adopt, including bundles on:
- Depression and anxiety
- Maternal venous thromboembolism
- Obstetric care for women with opioid use disorder
- Obstetric hemorrhage
- Postpartum care basics
- Prevention of retained vaginal sponges after birth
- Severe hypertension in pregnancy
- Reduction of peripartum racial/ethnic disparities
- Safe reduction of primary cesarean birth
To review these protocols, visit the Council on Patient Safety in Women’s Health Care here.
Facilitating frontline implementation
After reviewing evidence-based safety protocols, leaders must ensure clinicians are able to easily and consistently incorporate them into workflows. To do so, engage a multidisciplinary group of leaders, including physician, nursing, and administration, to design and roll out care standards system-wide.
Maternal health champions should:
- Use simulation training to prepare care teams for rare, severe, and timesensitive complications. Hold training sessions to unearth unanticipated barriers to protocol implementation. Then, engage the team in brainstorming how to address them. Emphasize that emergency communication procedures are evidence-based and must be as regimented as clinical procedures.
- Hardwire channels for regular intra- and inter-team communication to keep everyone accountable for sharing timely information. Schedule regular meetings for leaders to update staff on new programs or educational materials. Publish provider adherence data and highlight the impact of protocol changes to encourage behavior change.
It can be deeply unsettling for frontline care teams to hear that their practice could lead to unnecessary maternal death—or worse, that is already has. It’s likely that you’ll face pushback rooted in these difficult emotions, as well as general resistance to logistical change. To overcome these barriers, approach conversations with care teams, departments, and facilities as equal partnerships and identify the structural—not individual—challenges to ensuring patient safety.
For more guidance on designing easy-to-implement care standards, review our Create Care Standards Your Front Line Will Embrace research report.