200 hospitals sign on to new HHS maternal, infant health collaborative

More than 200 hospitals have signed on to participate in the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS') new maternal and infant health initiative.

The HHS Perinatal Improvement Collaborative is a network of providers that focuses on improving maternal and infant health by addressing disparities, according to an announcement from HHS. Its provider participants represent all 50 states and marks the first such effort to study how pregnancy can impact population health by linking inpatient data from newborns and their mothers.

The project is part of the broader HHS Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Data and Analysis Initiative, which aims to harness data to improve performance and evidence-based practices for maternal and infant health.

“We’re very excited the HHS Perinatal Improvement Collaborative allows us to obtain up-to-date maternal morbidity and mortality data that will inform program planning and policy development across HHS,” said Dorothy Fink, M.D., deputy assistant secretary for women’s health and director of the Office on Women’s Health, in a statement.

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Each hospital that has signed on to the effort will capture more than 150 measures that track the clinical and nonclinical factors impacting maternal and infant health, with a particular focus on disparities, HHS said.

Additional focus areas include COVID-19, hypertension and other chronic conditions and infections.

WIth the additional data on disparities, the collaborative will develop strategies that can address persistent racial, ethnic and geographic disparities in maternal health and determine ways care can be personalized to the needs of different patient populations.

The collaborative will be backed by an advisory panel that includes more than 20 expert clinicians and thought leaders, HHS said.

"The collaborative will investigate the outcomes of mothers and babies individually and together as a dyad," HHS said in its announcement. "The data will shed new light on whether the direct causes of maternal morbidity and mortality increase a newborn’s risk of lifelong health challenges."