Lincoln Medical Center is among six hospitals in the Tennessee Hospital Association’s network recognized for outstanding work in reducing the number of early births scheduled without a medical reason, also known as early elective deliveries (EEDs).
Occurring between 37 and 39 weeks of pregnancy, EEDs are associated with an increased risk of morbidity and increased hospital stays for both mothers and newborns. Some studies suggest that reducing EEDs will result in healthier babies being born who can feed, digest, and breathe better. The long-term impact is children with higher performance in math and reading in school.
The Tennessee Hospital Association (THA) Partnership for Patients Hospital Engagement Network has committed to reducing EEDs among its 32 birthing hospitals. Reporting a 36% decrease of EEDs with no medical indication ≥37 weeks and ≤39 weeks gestation through October 2012, the network is making rapid progress and is on track to meet its goal. Seventeen of its 32 birthing hospitals have already achieved EED rates of less than 5 percent.
“We are very honored to accept this recognition as an exemplary hospital in having a 0% early elective delivery rate,” said Stefanie Brown, director of Med Surge and OB at Lincoln Medical Center. “We developed our policies and protocols based on research and evidence based practice that babies delivered at 39 weeks’ gestation have better outcomes.
“It was a team effort, including myself, physicians and the OB nurses to standardize our health care processes to wait unless medically indicated to deliver babies at 39 completed weeks gestation,” she added. “Here at LMC’s Family Centered Birthing Unit, we want to provide the best, quality care for every family and their baby.
THA partnered with the Tennessee Initiative for Perinatal Quality Care, Tennessee Department of Health Maternal-Child Division, and the March of Dimes in efforts to reduce EEDs. The Hospital Engagement Network participates in the Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait public awareness campaign, webinars, and a state-wide push for 100 percent participation on EED hard stop policies. Participating hospitals receive access to free educational materials, media templates, and posters.
In addition to Lincoln Medical Center, five other hospitals noted outstanding EED results, all of which reflect zero percent EEDs at 37-39 weeks gestation period. Those facilities include Baptist Memorial Hospital Desoto, Southaven, Miss., from May-October 2012; Baptist Memorial Hospital Union City, from May-October 2012; Hardin Medical Center, Savannah, from May-November 2012; Maury Regional Medical Center, Columbia, from May-September 2012; and Saint Francis Hospital Memphis, from May-November 2012.
Outstanding progress at the national level is being made to reduce EEDs as well. These results are a product of multiple federal and private efforts, including the March of Dimes, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Hospital Association, Strong Start, Hospital Engagement Networks, National Priorities Partners.
The most recent EED data from 20 hospital engagement networks reporting on the Joint Commission’s measure of EED shows a 48% decrease among reporting hospitals compared with baseline.