Labour and birth information from BC hospitals made available to public

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Birth infoLabour and birth information for each hospital in British Columbia is now available to expectant mothers, their families, the general public, and health care providers.

Perinatal Services BC (PSBC), an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority, has provided this information on its website to help maternity care providers continue to improve care and support the best outcomes for mothers and babies.

Perinatal Services BC provides leadership, support, and coordination for the strategic planning of perinatal services in British Columbia in collaboration with regional health authorities and other key stakeholders. PSBC is the central source in the province for comprehensive, evidence-based perinatal information, which it collects through the BC Perinatal Data Registry, a database containing clinical information on all births collected from hospitals and registered midwives who attend births at home.

PSBC selected five indicators that are: important to the health and well-being of mothers and babies; based on solid evidence that supports the best approach to care; and measurable.

The five indicators are:

1.Vaginal delivery for first-time mothers;

2. Repeat cesarean section before 39 weeks (early term);

3. Post-date induction before 41 weeks;

4. Exclusive use of intermittent auscultation (listening to fetal heart beats at specified intervals) during labour; and

5. Babies who were breastfed from birth to discharge.

BC is the first province in Canada to make perinatal data at the hospital-level available to the public. The information can help keep expectant mothers better informed about the health services they receive, have informed conversations with their doctors, midwives, or nurse practitioners about their labour and delivery options, and help them prepare for their birth experience.

“The women of British Columbia and their families are lucky to enjoy such a wide spectrum of maternity services throughout the province,” says Dr. Geoffrey Cundiff, Professor & Head, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, University of British Columbia. “Perinatal Services BC has collected data on performance of the maternity providers and reported it back to the units for some time, and this has been essential to maximizing the quality of care at all sites. Making this information available to the public is the logical expansion of this approach. It is important to recognize how differences between sites and the populations they serve will influence the indicators. Nevertheless, they provide an excellent method for patients to open a conversation about quality and expectations with their maternity providers.”

Health care teams can use this information to continue to improve quality and safety within perinatal care across the province.

“We are pleased to be working in partnership with health authorities,” says Kim Williams, Provincial Executive Director, Perinatal Services BC. “By using best evidence and looking at the trends, PSBC supports health authorities and care providers in delivering the best care they can to women, newborns, and families. We can learn from one another, share best practices in maternity care, and identify areas for change or improvement. This is an exciting opportunity to make a difference in the lives of women and their families in BC by optimizing maternal and newborn health.”

Working together, Perinatal Services BC and regional health authorities strive to provide the best in perinatal care for women and their newborns across the province. For more information, or to access the data, visit the Surveillance section of www.perinatalservicesbc.ca.

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