Hospital collective works to reduce birth injuries

A group of 16 hospitals has come together to create seamless processes to avoid birth injuries to infants in risky situations. Right now, about three infants of every 1,000 are injured during birth, but Premier research suggests that about 80 percent of those injuries could be avoided.

The project, backed by healthcare alliance Premier Inc., is designed to address the major sources of birth injury identified by the Alliance, including failing to recognize when a baby is in distress, failing to perform a timely C-section, failing to properly resuscitate a baby, inducing labor inappropriately with drugs, and using vacuums or forceps inappropriately.

Hospitals participating in this project have committed to following a set of guidelines proven to reduce harm to infants and mothers in each of these situations. Not only that, hospitals are drilling their staff on how to respond, with Harris Methodist Fort Worth Hospital, or example, offering staff the chance to practice with computerized simulators named "Mama Noelle" and "Baby Hal."

Teams are also taking the time to develop clear plans ahead of time for how to deal with dangerous situations. For example, doctors and nurses are creating agreements on how many attempts to make before using a vacuum device to deliver a baby. While developing such strategies is time consuming, hospital leaders and Premier officials believe that the time spent will pay for itself in reduced expenses and fewer lawsuits.

To learn more about the Premier initiative:
- read this USA Today piece

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