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Combs CA, Goffman D, Pettker CM. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2022;226:B2-B9.
Readmission reduction as an improvement measure has been found to be problematic as a maternal safety outcome. This statement shares concerns regarding incentivizing hospitalization reductions after birth and explores the potential for patient harm due to pressures to reduce readmissions when needed.
Hansen M, Harrod T, Bahr N, et al. Acad Med. 2022;97:696-703.
Strong physician leadership during clinical crisis can help improve patient outcomes. In this randomized controlled trial, obstetrics-gynecology and emergency medicine residents participated in one of three study arms using high-fidelity mannequins. One study arm received a bespoke leadership curriculum, one received a modified version TeamSTEPPS curriculum, and the third received no leadership training. Participants in both curriculum arms improved leadership scores from “average” before the training to “good” following the training and continuing to six months. The control arm remained unchanged at “average” before and after.
Davidson C, Denning S, Thorp K, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;Epub Apri 15.
People of color experience disproportionately higher rates of maternal morbidity and mortality. As part of a larger quality improvement and patient safety initiative to reduce severe maternal morbidity from hemorrhage (SMM-H), this hospital analyzed administrative data stratified by race and ethnicity, and noted a disparity between White and Black patients. Review of this data was integrated with the overall improvement bundle. Post-implementation results show that SMM-H rates for Black patients decreased.

London UK: Crown Copyright; March 30, 2022. ISBN: 9781528632294.

Maternal and baby harm in healthcare is a sentinel event manifested by systemic failure. This report serves as the final conclusions of an investigation into 250 cases at a National Health System (NHS) trust. The authors share overarching system improvement suggestions and high-priority recommendations to initiate NHS maternity care improvement.
Bernstein SL, Catchpole K, Kelechi TJ, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2022;Epub Mar 4.
Maternal morbidity and mortality continues to be a significant patient safety problem. This mixed-methods study identified system-level factors affecting registered nurses during care of people in labor experiencing clinical deterioration. Task overload, missing or inadequate tools and technology, and a crowded physical environment were all identified as performance obstacles. Improving nurse workload and involving nurses in the redesign of tools and technology could provide a meaningful way to reduce maternal morbidity.
Derksen C, Kötting L, Keller FM, et al. Front Psychol. 2022;13:771626.
Effective communication and teamwork are fundamental to ensure safe patient care. Building on their earlier systematic review of communication interventions in obstetric care, researchers developed and implemented a training to improve communication at two obstetric hospitals. While results did not show a change in communication behavior, perceived patient safety did improve. Additional resources are available in the curated library on maternal safety.

National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Reproductive Health; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Maternal harm during and after pregnancy is a sentinel event. This campaign encourages women, families, and health providers to identify and speak up with concerns about maternal care and act on them. The program seeks to inform the design of support systems and tool development that enhance maternal safety.
Weiseth A, Plough A, Aggarwal R, et al. Birth. 2022;Epub Mar 1.
Labor and delivery is a high-risk care environment. This study evaluated a quality improvement initiative (TeamBirth) designed to promote shared decision-making and safety culture in labor and delivery. This mixed-methods study included both clinicians and patients at four hospitals and found that the program was feasible, increased the use of huddles, and had no negative effects on patient safety.
Hüner B, Derksen C, Schmiedhofer M, et al. Healthcare (Basel). 2022;10:97.
Labor and delivery units are high-risk care environments. Based on a retrospective review of obstetrical adverse events occurring at one German hospital in 2018, researchers created a matrix of preventable factors contributing to adverse events. Six categories of preventable events were identified (peripartum therapy delay; diagnostic error; inadequate maternal birth position; organizational errors; inadequate fetal monitoring; medication error) and 19 associated risk factors, including language barriers, missed diagnosis of a preexisting condition, and on-call duty.
Rivera-Chiauzzi EY, Smith HA, Moore-Murray T, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:e308-e314.
Peer support programs are increasingly used to support clinicians involved in adverse events. This evaluation found that a structured peer support program for providers involved in obstetric adverse events can effectively support providers in short periods of time (for example, 92% of participants did not need follow-up after second peer support contact) and can be initiated with limited resources.
Lyndon A, Simpson KR, Spetz J, et al. Appl Nurs Res. 2022;63:151516.
Missed nursing care appears to be associated with higher rates of adverse events. More than 3,600 registered nurses (RNs) were surveyed about missed care during labor and birth in the United States. Three aspects of nursing care were reported missing by respondents: thorough review of prenatal records, missed timely documentation of maternal-fetal assessments, and failure to monitor input and output.

Bryant A. UpToDate. September 13, 2021.

Implicit bias is progressively being discussed as a detractor to safe health care by fostering racial and ethnic inequities. This review examines the history of health inequities at the patient, provider, health care system, and cultural levels in obstetric and gynecologic care. It shares actions documented in the evidence base for application in health care to reduce the impact of implicit bias, with an eye toward maternal care

Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Care Quality Commission; September 2021.

The safety of maternity care is threatened by inequity. This report analyzes a set of United Kingdom investigation reports to identify issues affecting maternity care to determine their prevalence elsewhere in the system. Problems identified include poor leadership and teamwork, as well as learning and cross-service collaboration.
Loren DL, Lyerly AD, Lipira L, et al. J Patient Saf Risk Manag. 2021;26:200-206.
Effective communication between patients and providers – including after an adverse event – is essential for patient safety. This qualitative study identified unique challenges experienced by parents and providers when communicating about adverse birth outcomes – high expectations, powerful emotions, rapid change and progression, family involvement, multiple patients and providers involved, and litigious environment. The authors outline strategies recommended by parents and providers to address these challenges.

A 32-year-old pregnant woman presented with prelabor rupture of membranes at 37 weeks’ gestation. During labor, the fetal heart rate dropped suddenly and the obstetric provider diagnosed umbilical cord prolapse and called for an emergency cesarean delivery. Uterine atony was noted after delivery of the placenta, which quickly responded to oxytocin bolus and uterine massage.

Heitkamp A, Meulenbroek A, van Roosmalen J, et al. Bull World Health Organ. 2021;99:693-707F.
Maternal safety is a patient safety priority. According to this systematic review including 69 studies, the maternal near miss incidence rate is estimated to be 15.9 cases per 1,000 live births in lower-middle income countries and 7.8 cases per 1,000 live births in upper-middle-income countries. The most common causes of near miss were obstetric hemorrhage and hypertensive disorders.
Bernstein SL, Kelechi TJ, Catchpole K, et al. Worldviews Evid Based Nurs. 2021;18:352-360.
Failure to rescue, the delayed or missed recognition of a potentially fatal complication that results in the patient’s death, is particularly tragic in obstetric care. Using the Systems Engineering Initiative for Patient Safety (SEIPS) framework, the authors describe the work system, process, and outcomes related to failure to rescue, and develop intervention theories.