AHRQ grant aims to reduce birth injuries

By Bernie Monegain
09:41 AM

The Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has awarded a three-year demonstration $3 million grant aimed at reducing birth-related injuries. The grant supports quality improvement and data analysis initiatives.

AHRQ gave the award to Fairview Health Services in Minneapolis makes it possible for the Premier healthcare alliance Prenatal Safety Initiative to extend through June 2013.

The initiative is a national collaborative that is already reducing birth-related injuries. The project seeks to significantly lower the incidence of certain infrequent, though serious, injuries that could result in a wide range of harmful outcomes, including birth asphyxia or permanent neurologic disability.

Under the terms of the award, Fairview will provide focused training for high reliability team development through training in TeamSTEPPS and the use of medical simulation.

Premier Insurance Management Services will analyze the impact on claim frequency and severity as a result of quality improvement, and will also provide significant risk management services to the participating hospitals.

The Premier healthcare alliance's Perinatal Safety Initiative is composed of 16 hospitals in 12 states across the country. Approximately 115,000 babies will be delivered over the course of the collaborative.

Through the first phase of the project (July 2008 through December 2009), participants:

  • Reduced birth trauma (injuries to infants) by 11.6 percent against the baseline period (CY 2006 and 2007), and all participants were at or below the 2007 AHRQ provider rate.
  • Reduced birth hypoxia and asphyxia, conditions that often cause infant brain damage, by 31.4 percent against the baseline period.
  • Reduced the Adverse Outcome Index (AOI), by 6.4 percent against the baseline period. The AOI measures the number of deliveries with one or more of the identified adverse events as a proportion of total deliveries.

 The initiative also included a supply chain audit by Premier consultants that identified nearly $1.3 million in total potential savings at 11 of the hospitals, an average of nearly $41 per delivery, according to Premier.
 "This initiative is achieving improvements through the use of consistent, reliable delivery of care bundles and clinical best practices," said Stanley Davis, MD, Fairview Health Services, the lead researcher for the demonstration grant phase of the Perinatal Safety Initiative. "We're thrilled to have the opportunity to expand upon our learnings as we work to further reduce the incidence of these preventable injuries."

Two Fairview hospitals - Fairview Ridges Hospital (Burnsville, Minn.) and University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview (Minneapolis) - are participating in the initiative.