Leaders at the Washington, D.C.-based Leapfrog Group took credit for public reporting of elective early inductions of infant labor on March 3, when health alliance announced results from its 2013 Leapfrog Hospital Survey, which showed such elective inductions decreasing for the third year in a row among Leapfrog-surveyed hospitals, with the national average among surveyed hospitals hitting the target rate of under 5 percent for the first time.
“This is one of the most extraordinary examples of progress in healthcare that I’ve seen in my career, Leah Binder, president and CEO of the Leapfrog Group, said in a statement upon the release of the survey results. “It shows that public reporting can galvanize change, and that saves lives.”
As Leapfrog’s March 3 press release noted, “Early elective deliveries—inductions or cesarean procedures performed prior to 39 completed weeks gestation without medical necessity—carry risks to babies and mothers. They can also result in NICU [neonatal intensive care unit] admissions, increased length of stay, and higher costs to patients and payers,” the press release added, noting that “The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has advised against these deliveries for over 30 years.”
Leapfrog leaders leapt forward to take credit for the shift, noting that “Leapfrog was the first to publicly report rates of early elective deliveries by hospital,” and adding that “the vast majority of states are now reporting early elective delivery average rates of less than 10 percent, with standouts like California, Colorado, Maine and Massachusetts boasting rates at 3 percent or lower.” CEO Binder noted that dramatic improvements have taken place in states like South Carolina, where payment reform penalties are effectively discouraging such elective early inductions.
Healthcare Informatics has been involved in tracking this trend, and in publishing case studies of leader organizations in this area. Indeed, the number-two winning team in the Healthcare Informatics Innovator Awards program this year, the leadership of North Memorial HealthCare in Robbinsdale, Minn., has been engaged in organization-wide continuous performance improvement, with the very first project leveraging data for such work, taking place around this same issue—elective pre-term labor inductions.
HCI will continue to report on ongoing progress in this area.