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6 ways to improve patient safety during birth

Poor teamwork and communication that leads to patient harm results in as much as 70% of malpractice claims in the United States. Often, individual healthcare providers have not had the team training necessary to become an effective team during high-intensity situations.

Learn about evidence-based perinatal care practices that incorporate training, teamwork and simulation and lead to healthy mothers and babies.


Implement a shared team model

Effective team training should include:

LEADERSHIP -- Identify leaders to initiate and coordinate team events.

SITUATION MONITORING -- Both individual and teams should assess the working environment in order to deliver optimal care.

MUTUAL SUPPORT -- Provide constructive feedback and employ conflict resolution methods for improved care.

COMMUNICATION -- Strategies such as SBAR (Situaltion, Background, Assessment, Recommendation) and closed-loop communication methods assure reliability, create accountability and improve shared mental models.


Apply shared team model across teams

One of the most dangerous stages in the process of care for a mother and newborn is during handoffs; when information, authority and responsibility is transferred from one care provider to another.

Simulating handoffs enables healthcare providers to utilise teamwork models, such as TeamSTEPPS, so that transitions become seamless and automatized.


Use evidence-based care bundles

Evidence Based Processes (EBP) are essential to patient care. Not only do they represent the most current knowledge from research, but they also decrease the variability in care which leads to better patient safety.

Care bundles are evidence-based processes related to the patient's care that when performed togther result in better outcomes. Care bundles should be appreached in a step-by-step manner.



Apply care bundles on an all-or-nothing basis

The use of care bundles alone does not improve patient outcomes, but research shows that the team's ability to implement each element of the care bundles consistently for all patients does.

Practicing the use of care bundles during simulation helps make measuring and monitoring risk factors a familiar process.


Assess and address team performance

Identifying perinatal risk should be a regular, scheduled event and be evaluated on an ongoing basis in order to standardize processes whenever possible.

Using simulation, teams can undersant more fully how maternal and neonatal injury occur and find ways to improve outcomes without risk to a patient.


Take the first step

One of the most effective ways for teams to adopt simulation training in a new environment is to perform a Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycle.

PLAN out the scenario with relevant learning objectives and outcomes.

DO the scenario

STUDY using data and debriefing how the actions worked.

ACT to integrate learning on the job and maintain improvements.