First Mom-Baby Patient Safety Center Planned By March Of Dimes

Aims to Reduce Fatal and Costly Medical Errors, Promote Safety to Consumers and Hospitals

Jan 23, 2016, 00:01 ET from March of Dimes

DANA POINT, Calif., Jan. 23, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The first-ever center dedicated exclusively to reducing unnecessary illness and death among pregnant women and babies was announced today by the March of Dimes in partnership with University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) and Memorial Hermann Health System in Houston, Texas. It was announced at the World Patient Safety, Science & Technology Summit here. This research center hopes identify sources of patient harm and develop techniques and training to promote a culture patients safety along the perinatal continuum.

"More than half of all newborn-related errors are preventable, and pregnancy-related errors increase hospital stays by 50 percent," declared Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes, in making the announcement.  "The March of Dimes seeks to interrupt this state of affairs and envisions a nationwide network of centers that will develop a reliable culture of safety for pregnant women and babies while reducing costs."

Dr. Howse said the new March of Dimes Center on Perinatal Safety (MOD COPS) is modeled on safety practices developed in military and civilian aviation. Key features that promote and sustain an institutional culture of patient safety include enhanced communication, situational awareness, use of checklists, and reduction of systems redundancy. "Complex events in pregnancy, labor and delivery -- like flying an airplane -- provide potential for errors at many steps in the system. What we need to do is anticipate and prevent these errors with continuous quality improvement," she noted.

"The March of Dimes plans to form new centers around the country in partnership with other leading medical institutions as its research and successful clinical practices gain national and international recognition," Dr. Howse said.

MOD COPS will focus its efforts initially around the Joint Commission's Perinatal Core Measures that identify key areas where current practices cause substantial health care and economic burdens:

  1. Reduce elective (medically unnecessary) deliveries before 39 weeks gestation.
  2. Reduce Cesarean section deliveries.
  3. Encourage the use of steroids for women at risk of preterm birth.
  4. Reduce health care-associated infections in newborns.
  5. Encourage exclusive breast milk feeding.

By focusing on these five key areas, the March of Dimes aims to improve care for women and babies throughout the perinatal care continuum, which ranges from preconception through conception, pregnancy, delivery, postpartum and the interconception time frame.

The Institute of Medicine reported in 2015 that more than one million preventable adverse events occur in the United States each year, with a New York study indicating as many as 98,000 are fatal. The cost is estimated to be upwards of $29 billion annually.

The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health.  For more than 75 years, moms and babies have benefited from March of Dimes research, education, vaccines, and breakthroughs.  Find out how you can help prevent premature birth and birth defects by joining March for Babies at For the latest resources and information, visit or  Find us on Facebook and Twitter.

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SOURCE March of Dimes