There is a massive failure within the healthcare community to understand or even look at what is really happening in maternity related to surgical birth: the C-Section. This leads people who run hospitals, maternity centers and obstetric practices to make poor decisions and mismanage the patient care delivery team. A YouTube video is one of the clearest presentations I’ve seen about the steady increase of surgical births from about 5% in 1970 to about 33% (1 in 3) today across the nation. https://youtu.be/9-X-S8EHkFg
People who run hospitals think in terms of provider capacity, patient volume, and beds. In maternity, which is dominated by a patient group experiencing a normal biological event, the focus should be on delivering a different kind of care that supports a normal biological birth. The decision-makers in our health community have allowed us to get to a current environment where a woman having a birth here in Lincoln is 50% more likely to have a surgical birth than if she has the baby in Utah where they have been focusing on this topic now for several years and where the most recent total C-section rate is 22%.
The CMQCC Toolkit Will Dominate Attention in the Maternity Ecosystem until 2025
Decision-makers for Hospital-based maternity centers have a new toolkit which will define efforts to tear down and rebuild their maternity departments using these concepts for the next decade. Conversations focusing attention on this toolkit will take place in board rooms as well as medical and nursing conferences and likely will dominate maternity ecosystem dialogue. While many leaders are not familiar with the document at this time, there is growing attention for both the document and its goals. One example occurred recently with a November 2016 Webinar highlighting the toolkit by the Illinois Perinatal Quality Collaborative. The effort is spreading.
The new Toolkit by the California Maternity Quality Care Collaborative (CMQCC) supports normal vaginal birth. It provides perspective, research, system suggestions, and a comprehensive approach to making vaginal birth a major goal when it is medically and mutually indicated. The toolkit balances attention between the high risk, disease and trauma part of the maternity spectrum with the majority of births which should be expected to be a normal biological event.
Fundamentally, this toolkit establishes maternity as part of a normal life event and not just a medical process. It also brings much needed attention to the dramatic variation in C-Section rates among providers and between hospitals.
CMQCC was the resource for the toolkit that the March of Dimes distributed dealing with Early Elective Delivery across the nation that was a primary contributor for C-section rates stabilizing. From 1998 until 2003 total C-section rates rose a total of 15% before leveling off at 33% nationally. This new toolkit is a game changer. Any leader involved with maternity care delivery should study this document especially those in the C-Suite.
The March of Dimes effort to reduce or eliminate elective deliveries and C-sections has led to thousands of women not having major unnecessary surgery and babies who would have required NICU care who instead had a superior birthing experience. This might be the single most meaningful accomplishment ever for the March of Dimes. We should all say: “Thank You, March of Dimes!”
As discussed in part one of this series, different generations see and do things differently; however, within each of these groups is a desire for innovation. Leaders of all ages within this space need to send a message that each age group matters. When it comes to the baby business, this especially pertains to the Millennial, Gen-X and soon approaching Gen-Z groups. We simply can’t afford to let a generational gap exist in this area. To help respond to this need, here are three key areas that should be focused on to build and sustain cross-generational communication and cooperation inside and outside of the organization.
1. Be More Inclusive: This is the first step before digging into the more granular details of this process. Before all else, ensure that every age group is included and made to feel like a required piece of the puzzle. Each generational division boasts invaluable knowledge and assets – all which should be carefully integrated into the patient process. 2. Manage Expectations: Expectations can be managed if we first seek to understand, and to understand, we need communication – specifically, multi-channel communication, as that is how maternity patients are primarily communicating today. This also needs to happen as quickly as possible, as the expectations are already set. This leads us into our next point…
3. Aggressively pursue communication channels that are already embraced by younger generational cohorts: Live Web and video chat, YouTube and social media are all innovative new avenues that hospitals should be taking to embrace younger generational cohorts. For example, in the women’s services section of your hospital’s website, offer an informational YouTube video addressing commonly asked questions and concerns. Also, establishing a strong social media presence enables you to respond to patient inquires in near real-time. Or, live chat can help support a more personal, quality relationship. For instance, as opposed to sitting in a call queue, the patient can deploy a live chat session within seconds.
Women’s services leaders need to understand that to see a successful outcome – before true compliance is achieved – many communicational and cultural barriers will have to be broken down and bridges built. Each generation group must receive information in a form and frequency that offers them utility.
Every generation brings something special to the table for the hospital and healthcare space. Millennials are influencing healthcare with a new lexicon – which is beginning to impact the expectations of systems designed to care for patients, caregivers and the diverse demands of their lives and families – while healthcare organizations are still being largely led by the Baby Boomer generation and their expectations, methods and processes and terms we’ve dragged along from the 70s and 80s. A huge consideration must be these two groups, Gen-X, millennials and soon to be Gen-Z are both our childbearing universe and the source of our staff and emerging leaders.
Trust and generosity are not readily available; they are things that must be built over time. Having been an executive recruiter focusing in women’s services leadership for almost twenty years, I have come to learn this fact all too well. As a long-time leader in the healthcare, sales and consulting spaces, I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting inspiring women’s health leaders many who have brought a multitude of transformative ideas to the table. This observation, however, was put out almost as quickly as the spark was started.