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The Road to Zero Preventable Birth Injuries

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Background: The Seton Family of Hospitals' experience in developing and implementing transformational practices in labor and delivery (L&D) units aimed at reducing the rate of birth trauma at our facilities was previously reported.

Methods: Seton began its individual perinatal safety effort in earnest in October 2003. The endeavor brought together the four hospitals that offer obstetrical services, resulting in the establishment of an interdisciplinary team. The team meets monthly to develop and monitor best practices that are then shared, executed, and validated by each respective site's perinatal councils.

Results: A 36% reduction in the use of vacuum and forceps (from a frequency of 7.4% to 4.7%) was previously reported; the current rate (fiscal year [FY] 2007–FY 2008 year-to-date; July 1, 2006–December 31, 2007) was 4.1%. The incidence of associated birth trauma decreased to 0% for the last 15 months (ending December 31, 2007). During the first three project years (FY 2004–FY 2006), the average length of stay for infants admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit for birth injury declined by 80% (as compared with the previous three years), from 15.8 to 3.1 days.

Discussion: The perinatal safety team developed processes that have resulted in large and sustained reductions in the rate of serious birth trauma at all obstetric facilities.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2008

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  • Published monthly, The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety is a peer-reviewed publication dedicated to providing health professionals with the information they need to promote the quality and safety of health care. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety invites original manuscripts on the development, adaptation, and/or implementation of innovative thinking, strategies, and practices in improving quality and safety in health care. Case studies, program or project reports, reports of new methodologies or new applications of methodologies, research studies on the effectiveness of improvement interventions, and commentaries on issues and practices are all considered.

    Also known as Joint Commission Journal on Quality Improvement and Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Safety
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