TeamBirth launches at NJ hospitals to enhance labor and delivery

A national model for a more comfortable and communicative birth and delivery process will be implemented and operational in three hospitals and one birth center in New Jersey.

Experts hope the approach, which is expected to expand its reach across the state in the coming years, will result in more positive patient experiences and a reduction in maternal mortality and morbidity.

The New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, which along with Ariadne Labs is leading the state’s initiative, says the evidence-based TeamBirth model sets a new standard for care and services provided by hospitals and other medical facilities.

The key feature is the concept of shared decision-making – for example, a shared whiteboard in the delivery room showing patient preferences, treatment plan and birth status. At the same time, to ensure everyone is on the same page, the care team conducts regular “huddles” with the patient.

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“At the Quality Institute, we have long worked to improve maternal infant outcomes,” said Linda Schwimmer, President and CEO. “Bringing TeamBirth to New Jersey furthers this important mission by strengthening communication between providers and patients. We know that patients who are able to make decisions about their care that better reflect their personal preferences often experience more favorable outcomes.”

By the end of 2022, TeamBirth is expected to be deployed in 70 hospitals across the country. The New Jersey launch includes two RWJBarnabas Health properties – Monmouth Medical Center and Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center – as well as Virtua Health’s Virtua Voorhees Hospital and Midwifery Birth and Wellness Center.

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“This is something that we will be hardwiring into all of our hospitals,” said Suzanne Spernal, vice president of women’s services at RWJBarnabas Health.

Although no direct correlation can be established between the TeamBirth implementation and maternal mortality/morbidity statistics, the implementation has been shown to improve patient experiences and collaboration between health care teams and reduce cesarean rates, Spernal said.

According to data from the New Jersey Department of Health, pregnancy-related deaths in the state increased from 12.8 per 100,000 live births to 15 per 100,000 live births between 2011-2013 and 2014-2016. Black women have about seven times more pregnancy-related deaths.

“The launch of the TeamBirth initiative is another way to show our commitment to ensuring all families have access to quality, respectful and equitable maternity care,” Spernal said.

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DOH funded the initiative.

Dino Flammia is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]

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