Driven by a rising maternal mortality rate in the US, three influential women’s health care journals have jointly published a blueprint for improving communication and safety in the care of women during childbirth. The paper – whose lead author was UC San Francisco School of Nursing faculty member Audrey Lyndon – identified communication problems among clinicians, patients, families and administrators as a major concern that needs to be addressed.
While the reasons for the rising mortality rate remain unclear, “Every organization involved in providing care for women during labor and birth needs to take this on as something that they’re going to solve,” says Lyndon.
As part of an unprecedented cooperative effort between several such organizations – including the American College of Nurse Midwives, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine – Lyndon and colleagues from these groups did two initial studies to identify the patient safety issues confronting nurses, midwives, physicians and others involved in maternity care. These studies uncovered communication problems and disconnects between clinicians and administrators as key threats to patient safety.