Thursday, October 9, 2008

Maternity Care Makes up 25% of Admissions in the US

Obstetric care makes up ~ 1 in 4 discharges from hospital. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports that admission for childbirth outnumber admissions for pneumonia, cancer and heart failure. Unfortunately for many their view of childbirth is summarized by this quote:
"A lot of people think pregnant women are an accident waiting to happen"
Yikes! Mothers have been having babies for many years - this kind of attitude is reminiscent of the "State of Fear" that is detailed in Michael Crichton's book of the same name. There are some trying to combat this and Rita Rubin's article in USA Today this week: Maternity-care failings can be remedied with cost-saving fixes features some good examples including Valerie King of the Oregon Health & Sciences University who makes an excellent point
"Fortunately, maternity care is a place where good care and good economics come together."
And given the numbers this is a great place to focus. The latest numbers show a big increase in costs with a jump from $79 Billion in 2005 to a $86 Billion in 2006. Of this, estimates are that $2.5 Billion of that cost is associated with unnecessary care (mostly intervention with Cesarean Sections). The latest report published by the Childbirth connection on Evidence-Based Maternity Care focuses on the unnecessary care being delivered and the over use of intervention which is best demonstrated by the Cesarean Section rate in the US which stands at 30% (in the UK the rate is 24% which is also higher that expected)

Key to dealing with this is clinical data so there is no need to repeat unnecessary tests and investigations and making this information readily available will help the clinical staff and making the capture of this information as facile as possible.

You can read more about this at my "Navigating Healthcare Blog" - here which talks about the UK experience and covers some personal guidelines for mothers and parents to consider as they look at care in this area.

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