Achieving optimal cord management: a multidisciplinary quality improvement initiative

BMJ Open Qual. 2024 Apr 15;13(2):e002662. doi: 10.1136/bmjoq-2023-002662.


Optimal cord management (OCM), defined as waiting at least 60 seconds (s) before clamping the umbilical cord after birth, is an evidence-based intervention that improves outcomes for both term and preterm babies. All major resuscitation councils recommend OCM for well newborns.National Neonatal Audit Programme (NNAP) benchmarking data identified our tertiary neonatal unit as a negative outlier with regard to OCM practice with only 12.1% of infants receiving the recommended minimum of 60 s. This inspired a quality improvement project (QIP) to increase OCM rates of ≥ 60 s for infants <34 weeks. A multidisciplinary QIP team (Neonatal medical and nursing staff, Obstetricians, Midwives and Anaesthetic colleagues) was formed, and robust evidence-based quality improvement methodologies employed. Our aim was to increase OCM of ≥ 60 s for infants born at <34 weeks to at least 40%.The percentage of infants <34 weeks receiving OCM increased from 32.4% at baseline (June-September 2022) to 73.6% in the 9 months following QIP commencement (October 2022-June 2023). The intervention period spanned two cohorts of rotational doctors, demonstrating its sustainability. Rates of admission normothermia were maintained following the routine adoption of OCM (89.2% vs 88.5%), which is a complication described by other neonatal units.This project demonstrates the power of a multidisciplinary team approach to embedding an intervention that relies on collaboration between multiple departments. It also highlights the importance of national benchmarking data in allowing departments to focus QIP efforts to achieve long-lasting transformational service improvements.

Keywords: Clinical Audit; Quality improvement; Quality improvement methodologies.

MeSH terms

  • Benchmarking
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Quality Improvement*