Early Elective Deliveries Are Decreasing

One year ago, the Leapfrog Group released results of their annual Hospital Survey, for the first time publicly reporting rates of early elective deliveries (inductions or planned c-sections occurring before 39 weeks without a medical reason). The results were shocking, with hospitals varying from virtually zero to well over half of elective deliveries occurring before 39 completed weeks. Last week, we partnered again with the Leapfrog Group and other organizations to publicize the release of this year’s survey results, and we’re pleased that the data show rates moving in the right direction. Thirty-nine percent of reporting hospitals had rates of 5% or less, compared to 30% of reporting hospitals last year. Of the hospitals that reported an elective delivery rate in 2010 and 2011, 65% improved their performance.

But there’s still plenty of work to do. Hospitals that have set out to eliminate early elective deliveries have achieved rapid, meaningful improvements, but many hospitals have yet to begin improvement efforts. Some hospitals reported to Leapfrog that over 40 percent of their deliveries were done early without a medical reason, and although the Leapfrog Survey is the largest source reporting maternity data, there are still far too few hospitals reporting.

Efforts to eliminate early elective delivery must engage women, clinicians, hospital administrators, payers, employers, and policy-makers.

  • As part of our outreach to women, Childbirth Connection has enhanced and updated the Induction of Labor topic of our web site, and we are collaborating with the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) on more tools for women and clinicians, which we will share in the coming months.
  • To further engage health professionals, IHI will join Leapfrog in hosting two national webinars. The webinars will focus on the importance of the reliable determination of gestational age as a component of the IHI Perinatal Bundle Sequence and will be held February 15th from 2 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET and February 28th from 2-3pm ET.
  • To engage employers and other purchasers, Catalyst for Payment Reform (CPR) will join Leapfrog to offer another webinar, highlighting CPR’s new Maternity Payment Toolkit. This webinar will take place on February 21st from 1-2pm ET.

Leapfrog’s Hospital Survey shows us that public reporting can stimulate multi-disciplinary improvement efforts. We believe it is time to build on this momentum, and urge hospitals to collect and publicly report more measures of maternity quality.

Filed in Blog, Clinicians, Consumers, Costs - Charges - Value, Hospitals and Health Systems, New Reports and Resources on Tue., Jan 31, 2012

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