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How One Health System Has Improved Perinatal Care

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, January 3, 2012
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This article appears in the November 2011 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.

The Geisinger Health System in Danbury, PA, which prides itself on innovative healthcare delivery programs, looked deeply into its women’s care, particularly for perinatal care. It didn’t like what it saw. Hospital leadership thought the programs were not as encompassing as they should have been. When they looked for ways to improve, though, they didn’t have to look far.

They looked inside Geisinger.

Geisinger ran a cardiology program that not only involved multidisciplinary approaches, but carried out specific review of issues, from surgery to inpatient care, that proved to be successful. The hospital system’s C-suite examined the hospital’s perinatal program in women’s health services and initiated a similar project there to improve efficiency and outcomes in obstetrics care, said Harry O. Mateer Jr., MD, FACOG, director of obstetrics for Geisinger.

Hospital officials were prompted to make changes in perinatal care because they believed there was a “lot of variability in the system,” Mateer recalled. Different hospitals within the system had different goals and measurements. There was no single point for best practices in a continuum of care. And the hospital education tools were not only too many, but contradictory. Nursing and physician functions were overlapping.

“We decided we had to redesign from the ground up all aspects of provider work flow,” Mateer said. The result has been wide-ranging improvements in efficiencies and outcomes under the revised perinatal program, dubbed Geisinger Health System’s ProvenCare Perinatal program. At its 24 clinic sites, Geisinger handles 5,000 pregnancies annually, most at its two hospitals, the 485-bed Geisinger Medical Center and 237-bed Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center.

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