IHI CEO: Maternal mortality should be bigger priority for hospital leaders

Healthcare leaders are not discussing the issue of high maternal mortality rates as prominently as they should be, according to Derek Feeley, president and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

In a blog post on IHI's website, Mr. Feeley outlined three ways hospital leaders can work to ensure healthy pregnancies and safe deliveries:

1. Listen to patients. To address maternal health inequalities, leaders must listen to women of color, who are often underrepresented in this discourse, according to Mr. Feeley. These patients have a higher risk of dying from childbirth and will hold valuable insights into how to improve maternal care.

2. Address implicit bias. Despite staff members' best intentions, implicit bias is common in the healthcare industry and can harm patients. Hospital leaders must acknowledge this bias and address it directly, Mr. Feeley said. Hospitals can implement training programs to help employees recognize biases and provide more equitable maternal care or resources.

3. Collect standardized data. The Preventing Maternal Deaths Act signed into law last December allocates funding to collect and analyze maternal death data on a national level. Hospital leaders must work to support this effort and reduce state-level variability in maternal mortality data collection, according to Mr. Feeley.

"We won't know if the changes we're making to improve maternal health are leading to improvement without good data collection and analysis," he wrote in the post.

To view the full blog post, click here.

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