Cleveland Clinic Akron General Adopts New Birthing Model to Improve Outcomes

Cleveland Clinic Akron General Adopts New Birthing Model to Improve Outcomes. A pregnant black woman with her hands on her belly.

The role that both explicit and implicit biases play in creating inequity in maternal health care can have a negative impact on the birthing experience in the U.S.

“Pregnant people in the U.S. are experiencing severe complications and dying at higher rates than any other industrialized nation and if you are a pregnant Black person, your rates are even higher,” notes Jennifer Savitski, M.D., chair of obstetrics and gynecology at Cleveland Clinic Akron General.

To address this situation, Akron General recently became one of four hospitals in the country to implement a new care model designed to improve outcomes for pregnant patients by focusing on communication and teamwork to enhance safety and quality of care.

A Team Approach to Birthing

The model, called “TeamBirth,” involves all care team members having huddles with patients at regular intervals so that they understand their patients’ current conditions and birth preferences. Akron General is piloting the program as part of the first wave of the March of Dimes and Department of Health & Human Services’ Maternal HealthCARE initiative.

TeamBirth aims to improve communication by using planning boards in all labor and delivery rooms and listing all cargivers on the patient’s team. The planning boards highlight the patient’s birth preferences, and outline care plans and progress for both the patient and the baby. The care team, the person giving birth and the support person meet frequently to ensure as awareness of the patient’s preferences and condition, and to set clear expectations.

Akron General spent about six months preparing to adopt the new model and began using it in October. Data are being collected to determine how the program impacts birth outcomes and patient and caregiver experiences. It’s too early to draw conclusions on outcomes, but Savitski says anecdotal patient feedback indicates that patients appreciate the intentionality of highlighting their preferences and having a structured process to ensure shared decision-making.

TeamBirth was developed by Ariadne Labs as an evidence-based approach to labor and delivery. Hospitals participating in the Maternal HealthCARE initiative implement improvement measures focused on best practices for patient-centered, respectful and equitable care for all, stratifying data by race and ethnicity to create transparency.

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