Institute for Healthcare Improvement features health initiative at Children’s & Women’s Hospital
The women’s services team at the hospital, with support from University of South Alabama colleagues, has launched a variety of projects to raise awareness and help save the lives of those most impacted by maternal health disparities.
By Casandra Andrews
When it comes to quality improvement and health equity at USA Health Children’s & Women’s Hospital, the women’s services division often encourages team members and colleagues to meet challenges head on as they continue to discover what a small group of passionate people can do.
That attitude, and the initiatives that have followed in recent months to address health inequities, continue to garner national recognition. The latest example is the article “Getting Started with QI and Health Equity: ‘Don’t Be Intimidated. Be Inspired,’” in which Director of Women’s Services, Vicki Curtis, M.S.N., RN, RNC-OB, noted that disturbing statistics compelled her team to embrace efforts to improve maternal outcomes.
Despite positive strides in many areas of healthcare, the maternal mortality rate continues to rise in the United States and is particularly high in the South. In Alabama, the state mortality rate is 36.2 maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births while the U.S. rate is 20.4 for every 100,000, giving Alabama the third highest rate in the nation, research shows.
In fall 2022, Children’s & Women’s Hospital was accepted into the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Eliminating Inequities and Reducing Postpartum Morbidity and Mortality Learning Community, which spanned January to June 2023. The community brought together five hospitals nationwide to support changes in clinical and administrative processes with the goal of leading to safer and more equitable postpartum care and support for Black mothers.
Since then, the women’s services team, along with support from University of South Alabama colleagues, have launched a variety of projects to raise awareness and help save the lives of those most impacted by maternal health disparities. Among the new initiatives is enhanced data collection, a medical bracelet program that encourages recently delivered mothers to wear an arm band identifying their medical condition, and an at-home blood pressure monitoring program.