TeamBirth Model Expanding in Mass. to Improve Maternal Health Outcomes

Oct. 5, 2023
Expansion to nine health systems follows successful pilot of the program with UMass Memorial Medical Center

Seeking to improve maternal health outcomes in Massachusetts, Point32Health, the Canton, Mass.-based parent company of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Tufts Health Plan, and Ariadne Labs are expanding TeamBirth, a clinically proven care process innovation, to additional provider groups throughout Massachusetts.

The expansion follows a successful pilot of the program with UMass Memorial Medical Center. Ariadne Labs is a joint center for health systems innovation at Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Research has found that communication failures between providers and patients are responsible for 80 to 90 percent of preventable injuries to women and babies during childbirth and are among the most frequently cited root causes in maternal mortality and morbidity reviews.

Point32 says that TeamBirth improves safety, dignity and equity in childbirth by structuring the essential information that should be communicated during every labor assessment. The program enables communication between the mother, the family, and the clinical care team, which includes a live birth plan, storyboarding and birth plan "huddles" between the clinical team throughout labor; and a pair of decision-making tools aimed at reducing cesarean deliveries.

"The statistics on maternal health outcomes in this country are well reported, and we must do all we can to improve healthcare for expectant mothers," said Glenn Pomerantz, M.D., J.D., Point32Health chief medical officer, in a statement. "Creating a more equitable health system is one of our top priorities, and developing programs focused on improving maternity care is integral to our overall strategy. Our ongoing work with Ariadne Labs allows us to address systemic inequities within the health care system, while also improving maternity care for all."

"All people deserve equitable access to a safe, dignified birth experience," said Amber Weiseth, D.N.P., M.S.N., R.N.C.-O.B., the director of Ariadne Labs' Delivery Decisions Initiative, in a statement. "We are thankful for the opportunity to collaborate with Point32Health, Perinatal-Neonatal Quality Improvement Collaborative of Massachusetts, Betsy Lehman Center, and our dedicated hospital partners to bring TeamBirth to more patients across Massachusetts."

Ninety-three percent of clinicians surveyed in Ariadne's clinical trial said they believed TeamBirth improves care, and 87 percent of patients surveyed had the role they wanted in decisions about their labor. The more TeamBirth conversations that took place during labor, the more likely patients were to report a positive experience of care, including having the role they wanted, understanding conversations with their team, and believing their preferences made a difference in their care.

The new health systems participating in the expansion include:

  • Baystate Franklin Medical Center (The Birthplace, Greenfield)
  • Boston Medical Center, Boston
  • Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston
  • Cape Cod Hospital, Hyannis
  • Fairview Hospital, Great Barrington
  • Mercy Medical Center, Springfield
  • Sturdy Health | Sturdy Memorial Hospital, Attleboro
  • Saint Vincent Hospital, Worcester
  • Tufts Medical Center, Boston

"The clinicians at Brigham and Women's Hospital who care for birthing persons are thankful that Point32Health supported our implementation of TeamBirth. We also are deeply appreciative of the leadership and support of the Ariadne Labs for expertly guiding its implementation," said Robert L. Barbieri, M.D., interim chief of obstetrics at Brigham & Women's Hospital, in a statement. "At the Brigham, TeamBirth has significantly increased the perception of our birthing patients that their symptoms, lived experiences and preferences are elicited, recognized and respected by our clinicians. It is our belief that the structured TeamBirth huddle elevates the voice of the birthing person, encouraging and empowering patients to speak-up, share their goals and voice their concerns. By improving communication among all the members of the birth team, including the patient, support persons, labor nurse and physician/midwife, TeamBirth improves birth outcomes and patient-reported satisfaction with their care. I highly recommend that all birth centers consider implementing TeamBirth."

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