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Better Data, Better Health

May 18, 2008
by Travis Gathright
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Excerpted from a recent USA Today article by Liz Szabo titled Hospital staffs train for safe delivery of babies:

About three infants of every 1,000 delivered are injured during birth. Nearly 80% of the injuries might be preventable, DeVore says. Though some problems are minor, others can cause paralysis.

Research shows most injuries stem from five central problems: failing to recognize when a baby is in distress; failing to perform a C-section in time; failing to properly resuscitate a baby; using drugs to induce labor inappropriately; and using a vacuum or forceps inappropriately, Premier says.

Firstly, the article made me wonder how long it took the organizers of the study to come up with these data. Secondly, this is a great example of how data can be used to improve the lives of our patients. The research has led to the creation of a wonderfully practical and precise solution. Thirdly, it makes me think about how much better the US healthcare system is going to be as more and more data are stored electronically. Imagine a healthcare system where it is truly speedy and practical to approach all of our ailments and commensurate clinical protocols with this type of data-based decision making.

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