As one of the six clinical institutes at Providence Health, the Women & Children’s Institute is a network that makes resources and services more accessible and user-friendly for patients and physicians. The Institute ensures that patients receive little variation in care based on best-practices protocol, no matter what hospital they visit. This translates into greater gynecological health, safer deliveries and healthier newborns.
“When we have better collaboration and coordination for these specialized services,” says Jeremy Zoch, chief executive leader for the Women & Children’s Institute for the Southern California region and chief executive at St. Joseph Hospital of Orange.
One area the Institute focuses on is lowering the cesarean section rate for first-time mothers giving birth to non-premature, single infants presenting in the normal birthing position (also known as the NTSV C-section rate). C-sections result in additional risks, longer recovery times for mothers and higher costs, says obstetrician David Lagrew, MD, executive medical director of the Women & Children’s Institute for Southern California. Dr. Lagrew notes there are vast variations in this rate among institutions and providers, and that higher C-section rates do not correlate with better outcomes.
“When we started this program, we learned some doctors didn’t know what their C-section rate was,” he says. “Now we share this information openly at department meetings with individual providers to create a greater awareness.”
Hospitals now are implementing strategies to lower the NTSV C-section rate, and Providence Little Company of Mary Torrance is already below the national and state average. Strategies such as evaluating labor symptoms to determine when to admit, and increasing mobility during the labor process continue to help moms deliver naturally.
“Avoiding admitting a woman too early means you’re less likely to intervene with medications and create a protracted labor, which can often lead to a C-section,” Dr. Lagrew says.
Zoch notes each Providence ministry has been providing excellent service for years but that an Institute model can bring together resources quickly and efficiently to support each health care facility as new technologies and standards of care emerge.
“About 100,000 infants are born at one of our Providence hospitals every single year,” he says. “We created this Institute to ensure every one of these infants, and their mothers, will receive the latest and highest quality of care across our entire system.”
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