Hospitals work to improve maternal health

There is no question that we can, and should, do more to improve care for new and expectant mothers.

Hospitals, physicians and nurses will continue to play a key role in that effort.

While our members across the country offer cutting-edge care delivered by highly trained individuals and teams, heartbreaking incidents still occur.

These tragedies are being reduced with education offered by professional associations and the government.

One preventable complication is one too many.

That is why hospitals across the country have led national improvement projects — to test new ideas and disseminate practices that improve care for all.

The American Hospital Association is a convener and conduit of information for our nearly 5,000 member hospitals and health care systems, particularly around efforts to improve care.

While the AHA is not a clinical or accrediting organization, through its affiliate, the Health Research & Educational Trust, the AHA provides hospitals and health systems with education, tools, resources and technical assistance on key issues, including maternal health.

This includes research and tool kits on topics such as reducing early-elective deliveries, obstetric hemorrhage and preeclampsia.

It’s important to note that federal quality data cited by USA TODAY in its article on maternal mortality is a result of ongoing, voluntary efforts to help share best practices and improve care across the field.

The AHA also is an active partner in the Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health (AIM), a national maternal safety and quality improvement initiative based on proven approaches to improving safety and outcomes.

Through these collaborative efforts and the continued commitment of hospitals across the country, some adverse obstetric-related events are decreasing.

These national-level collaborations have had significant impact, such as a nearly 65% drop in early-elective deliveries from 2010 to 2013. But more work remains.

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