Labor and delivery (L&D) departments across the country are facing some vexing dilemmas: pressure to meet Joint Commission standards, follow AWHONN specifications and uphold state requirements. And do it all in an environment of nursing shortages, budget constraints and increased focus on patient satisfaction.
These complex challenges are fertile ground for smart analytics solutions. L&D can seem unpredictable, but it’s possible to identify trends if you’re looking in the right places. An analytics solution allows you to access the right metrics so you can identify and compare trends week over week, month over month, and year over year.
But the metrics that L&D is focused on are distinct from, say, what the med-surgical unit needs. Here are some of the key ways analytics can specifically help deliver better care for healthier moms and babies.
Staff utilization. Analytics can highlight when and where patients are admitted and when they’re delivering to help you meet staffing needs and cover peaks and valleys appropriately. This can alleviate staffing challenges and help decrease overtime costs. It also helps identify trends in overall productivity. You can see when and where clinicians are documenting care to identify areas for improvement.
For example, one of our customers is interested in primary C-section rates for a quality initiative. In the past, one staff member had reviewed the charts of all the primary C-sections that had occurred over the past year. With analytics, they can now go into the dashboard and quickly bring all that information to their fingertips. In an era of nursing shortages, that person can be doing clinical work that’s more valuable to the hospital and its patients.
Regulatory compliance. You can understand admissions, length of stay, complications by delivery method and more – all the information you need to report to state and regulatory organizations.
Quality of care. You can evaluate patient care by provider. For example, you can ensure that a provider doing an early induction is meeting the standards suggested by AWHONN. You can also see trends in complications, including whether or not early inductions extend the length of stay in the post-partum area due to complications with the mother or the baby, or if complications resulted in a baby going to the NICU.
Provider feedback. You can evaluate how each clinician affects patient outcomes, either independently or in a team. For example, you can see if a certain doctor or a particular nurse-doctor team has more C-sections. On the positive side, you share positive feedback with staff that has excellent patient satisfaction results or good overall outcomes.
Identify opportunities. By looking at a variety of factors, you can identify improvement opportunities. For example, if you see that a certain doctor has too many patients delivering with complications, you can help that doctor understand the issue and get them the education or support they need to address it.
Research and outreach. Understanding trends can help hospitals conduct better research and establish more effective programs. Many hospitals are developing specific perinatal or neonatal initiatives, such as breastfeeding programs, and the right analytics solution can make it easier for them to implement and track an effective program.