Leading Health Care Organizations Issue Recommendations for Quality Patient Care in Labor and Delivery

Unprecedented Collaboration Creates Joint Call to Action

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Megan Moriarty
Public Relations Strategist
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237 Ext. 6052

WASHINGTON, DC — The nation’s leading health care organizations in the areas of obstetrics-gynecology, family medicine, and pediatrics issued an unprecedented call to action today for the nation’s health care providers and administrators.

The collaboration, which includes the American Academy of Family Physicians; the American Academy of Pediatrics; the American College of Nurse-Midwives; the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; the American College of Osteopathic Obstetricians & Gynecologists; the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses; and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, was brought about by the need to develop an interdisciplinary collaborative approach to patient care to optimize maternal and fetal health outcomes.

While infant mortality rates in the United States declined in 2010, the U.S. rate remains higher than most European nations. In addition, U.S. health care providers have seen an increase in pregnancy complications. These trends, along with the recognition that collaboration among physicians, midwives, and nurses is essential to positive health outcomes, prompted the organizations to develop joint recommendations.

The “Call to Action” includes recommendations for health care providers and administrators:

  • Ensure that patient-centered care and patient safety are organizational priorities that guide decisions for policies and practices.
  • Foster a culture of openness by promoting the active communication of good outcomes and opportunities for improvement. Develop forums to facilitate communication and track issues of concern.
  • Provide resources for clinicians to be trained in the principles of teamwork, safety, and shared decision-making.
  • Develop methods to systematically track and evaluate care processes and outcomes.
  • Facilitate cross-departmental sharing of resources and expertise.
  • Ensure that quality obstetric care is a priority that guides individual and team decisions.
  • Identify and communicate safety concerns, and work together to mitigate potential safety risks.
  • Disseminate and use the best available evidence, including individual and hospital-level data, to guide practice patterns.

The joint call to action underscores the collective belief among health care providers that ongoing collaboration is a key element to improving health care outcomes.

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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 136,700 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the largest medical society devoted solely to primary care. Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits -- that’s 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.  To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.familydoctor.org(familydoctor.org).