Maternity Care Improvement: Will it Play in Peoria?

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Will it play in Peoria?” It originated in the early ’20s and ’30s during the US vaudeville era, when Peoria, IL was a popular stop for vaudeville acts and performances. If a show was well received in Peoria, it was likely to work throughout the country. Peoria has since become a well-known test market to gauge the popularity of products and ideas nationwide.

So what does this have to do with maternity care? Well, in this case, what’s playing in Peoria goes way beyond products and ideas to a full-blown actionable healthcare quality improvement project called “Healthy Babies, Healthy Moms.”

The project is led by Quality Quest for Health, a quality collaborative started in 2006 by Caterpillar Inc. and OSF Healthcare System, to transform healthcare in Illinois.  In 2009, Quality Quest became a non-profit and expanded the organization to include all healthcare stakeholders. Early this year, Quality Quest officially launched the “Healthy Babies, Healthy Moms” project to address serious concerns about the high rate of elective deliveries (inductions and cesarean sections) prior to 39 completed weeks gestation in the state.  According to The Leapfrog Group’s national survey of hospitals, rates of early elective deliveries range from less than 5% to more than 40%.  In the greater Peoria area alone, rates of elective delivery among the 10 largest hospitals range from 1-30%, and all but 3 hospitals exceed The Leapfrog Group’s threshold of 12% for 2011.

Quality Quest for Health leaders and members know they can do better and have systematically engaged local and state healthcare stakeholders-providers, hospitals, employers, health plans, and patients and families- in the “Healthy Babies, Healthy Moms” project. There’s no doubt that like other Quest quality improvement projects, Healthy Babies, Healthy Moms is making a difference. Strong leadership is a key to their success, starting with a committed Board of Directors and a savvy CEO, Dr. Gail Amundson, a recognized quality leader and innovator.

Last month I was fortunate to travel to Peoria for two action-packed days that included speaking about “Preventing Elective Deliveries Before 39 Weeks” at Quality Quest’s annual meeting, presenting Grand Rounds at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, and meeting with members of the Healthy Babies, Healthy Moms Team. It’s always inspiring to be among committed quality improvement leaders who are actively engaged in transforming maternity care at the community and state level, and this opportunity was no exception. The people of Peoria couldn’t have been more gracious and welcoming!

I especially enjoyed meeting with members of the Healthy Babies, Healthy Moms Statewide Team and witnessing first hand the power of this multi-stakeholder approach to improving outcomes for babies and moms. All the critical players are at the table including clinicians, hospitals, health plans, policy makers, public health agencies, professional organizations, employers, and consumer advocates and organizations like the March of Dimes.

Collaborative Strategies for Change

At Childbirth Connection our mantra is “Rapid change in maternity care quality and value are within our reach, but no one can do it alone.” Quality Quest shares this goal and through multi-stakeholder collaborative efforts they are making measurable progress by:

  • Identifying priorities based on open access to understandable, shared data;
  • Agreeing on best care by embracing evidence-based standards for reliable, standardized, optimal and personalized care;
  • Measuring what matters by focusing on results for each individual patient to measurably improve the health of the population they serve:
  • Creating positive incentives for all stakeholders to achieve optimal results;
  • Redesigning healthcare delivery systems to provide patients and clinical care teams with the support they need for success; and
  • Reporting performance to clinicians and the public, and comparing results to best practice to foster a culture of transparency and accountability.

Healthy Babies, Healthy Moms is gaining traction across the state of Illinois as more and more hospitals, clinicians, payers, and others get on board to prevent elective deliveries before 39 weeks. Quality Quest for Health in collaboration with Midwest Business Group on Health is planning to host a state maternity care payment reform summit this fall in Chicago to address challenges and opportunities of shifting payment incentives “from volume to value.”

Based on progress to date, we know the “Healthy Babies, Healthy Moms” project is  “Playing in Peoria.”  Its success and popularity in Peoria bodes well for national adaptation and replication in communities across the U.S. and we look forward to reporting on the project’s impact over time.

Why not share information with us on any maternity care quality improvement projects happening in your state or community?

Filed in Blog, Clinicians, Consumers, Costs - Charges - Value, Hospitals and Health Systems, Quality Collaboratives on Wed., Sep 14, 2011

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