Hospital culture plays big role in C-section rate variations

Hospital culture may play a larger part in cesarean section rates than patient risk factors, according to a study published in PLOS Medicine. Researchers from the University of Minnesota analyzed data from nearly 1.5 million births in 1,373 hospitals. They found cesarean section rates of 22 percent among women with no prior cesareans. Between hospitals, they found a 25-point difference in the probability of a cesarean. "This variation did not fall when researchers adjusted for socioeconomic factors, hospital characteristics or patient diagnoses. These findings highlight the need for more comprehensive or linked data including parity and gestational age as well as examination of other factors--such as hospital policies, practices, and culture--in determining cesarean section use," the authors wrote. Study abstract