Recently, Summa Akron City Hospital received an award from the Ohio Patient Safety Institute of the Ohio Hospital Association. This award honors a health care organization for implementing the most innovative, evidence-based patient safety practice. They bestowed only two quality health care awards for the entire state. Summa’s Women’s Health Service Line won for improving the safety of induction and augmentation of labor. We were the only OB service in the state to win the award this year!
This passionate focus towards a culture of safety for the mother-baby pair has taken years. Research and evidenced-based medicine were used to improve the quality of the birth experience. Projects included the developed a perinatal safety team, an induction scheduling and consent form, processes to block inappropriate elective inductions of labor, and a set of rules about Oxytocin that nurses and physicians use together. Not always appreciated, Oxytocin (Pitocin) is a medication used to induce or augment labor and is a high-alert medication. While this medication can be very beneficial, it can also lead to fetal distress, harm to the mother, and increasing health care costs.
While it takes a village to change the culture of an institution, it also takes leaders. Many, many leaders. These leaders are nurses and physicians. They work hand-in-hand as a team with the same mission: better health care for women. For successful change, leadership is no longer a hierarchy, but dispersed throughout the department.
It can be challenging to get everyone working together for a common goal. It reminds me of the book written by Spencer Johnson, M.D., Who moved my cheese? It is a parable of four mice with different personalities who live in a maze and look for cheese. The cheese is a metaphor for what you want, and the maze is a barrier to change. For us, the cheese is quality health care, and the barrier is that people don’t like to change, as in, “We’ve always done it this way.” If we want to provide better health care, we need to keep moving our own cheese.
In summary, I end with one question. Why would you, your family, or your neighbors deliver a baby anywhere else?
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