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 American Academy of Family Physicians represents 134,600 physicians and medical students nationwide, and it is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five of the total medical office visits in the United States per year – more than any other specialty. Family physicians provide comprehensive, evidence-based, and cost-effective care dedicated to improving the health of patients, families and communities. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing and personal patient-physician relationship where the family physician serves as the hub of each patient’s integrated care team. More Americans depend on family physicians than on any other medical specialty.

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