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Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2007 Jan;33(1):15-24.

Eliminating birth trauma at Ascension Health.

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Seton Medical Center, Austin, Texas, USA.



Ascension Health identified perinatal safety as one of eight priorities for action in a systemwide effort to achieve zero preventable injuries and deaths by July 2008.


Three alpha sites developed and implemented transformational practices aimed at eliminating preventable birth trauma. Standardized order sets linked to all major areas of obstetrical care were either updated or developed and then tested and incorporated into the work flow of the labor and delivery units. Best practices were shared via team meetings and conference calls. Each site created systems to ensure that evidence-based practices were reliably followed for high-risk conditions associated with perinatal harm, that robust strategies for communication were adopted, and that collaborative practice was promoted among caregivers.


By June 2006, all facilities achieved birth trauma rates that were at or near zero in conjunction with the implementation of these practices.


Three alpha sites of differing size, patient demographics, and available resources, using a combined uniform and facility-specific approach, achieved a significant reduction in the incidence of birth trauma. Yet each site adopted unique site-specific processes designed to enhance practice on the basis of unit or institutional culture, market challenge, and/or the prospect for success.

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