Reduction of severe maternal morbidity from hemorrhage using a state perinatal quality collaborative

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2017 Mar;216(3):298.e1-298.e11. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2017.01.017. Epub 2017 Jan 30.


Background: Obstetric hemorrhage is the leading cause of severe maternal morbidity and of preventable maternal mortality in the United States. The California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative developed a comprehensive quality improvement tool kit for hemorrhage based on the national patient safety bundle for obstetric hemorrhage and noted promising results in pilot implementation projects.

Objective: We sought to determine whether these safety tools can be scaled up to reduce severe maternal morbidity in women with obstetric hemorrhage using a large maternal quality collaborative.

Study design: We report on 99 collaborative hospitals (256,541 annual births) using a before-and-after model with 48 noncollaborative comparison hospitals (81,089 annual births) used to detect any systemic trends. Both groups participated in the California Maternal Data Center providing baseline and rapid-cycle data. Baseline period was the 48 months from January 2011 through December 2014. The collaborative started in January 2015 and the postintervention period was the 6 months from October 2015 through March 2016. We modified the Institute for Healthcare Improvement collaborative model for achieving breakthrough improvement to include the mentor model whereby 20 pairs of nurse and physician mentors experienced in quality improvement gave additional support to small groups of 6-8 hospitals. The national hemorrhage safety bundle served as the template for quality improvement action. The main outcome measurement was the composite Centers for Disease Control and Prevention severe maternal morbidity measure, for both the target population of women with hemorrhage and the overall delivery population. The rate of adoption of bundle elements was used as an indicator of hospital engagement and intensity.

Results: Compared to baseline period, women with hemorrhage in collaborative hospitals experienced a 20.8% reduction in severe maternal morbidity while women in comparison hospitals had a 1.2% reduction (P < .0001). Women in hospitals with prior hemorrhage collaborative experience experienced an even larger 28.6% reduction. Fewer mothers with transfusions accounted for two thirds of the reduction in collaborative hospitals and fewer procedures and medical complications, the remainder. The rate of severe maternal morbidity among all women in collaborative hospitals was 11.7% lower and women in hospitals with prior hemorrhage collaborative experience had a 17.5% reduction. Improved outcomes for women were noted in all hospital types (regional, medium, small, health maintenance organization, and nonhealth maintenance organization). Overall, 54% of hospitals completed 14 of 17 bundle elements, 76% reported regular unit-based drills, and 65% reported regular posthemorrhage debriefs. Higher rate of bundle adoption was associated with improvement of maternal morbidity only in hospitals with high initial rates of severe maternal morbidity.

Conclusion: We used an innovative collaborative quality improvement approach (mentor model) to scale up implementation of the national hemorrhage bundle. Participation in the collaborative was strongly associated with reductions in severe maternal morbidity among hemorrhage patients. Women in hospitals in their second collaborative had an even greater reduction in morbidity than those approaching the bundle for the first time, reinforcing the concept that quality improvement is a long-term and cumulative process.

Keywords: hemorrhage; maternal morbidity; outcomes; quality collaboratives; quality improvement; safety; safety bundles.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • California
  • Female
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Postpartum Hemorrhage / prevention & control*
  • Pregnancy
  • Quality Improvement
  • Severity of Illness Index