NJHA Receives March of Dimes Grant to Improve Birth Outcomes

Jan 29, 2014, 14:24 ET from New Jersey Hospital Association (NJHA)

PRINCETON, N.J., Jan. 29, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Health Research and Educational Trust of New Jersey (HRET), a nonprofit affiliate of the New Jersey Hospital Association, has been awarded $52,426 from the March of Dimes Foundation, New Jersey Chapter, to help improve birth outcomes in New Jersey.

This 12-month initiative will support a quality improvement program related to premature birth prevention that includes establishing a culture of safety and developing standardized strategies and protocols. Specific objectives include:

  • Building statewide consensus around the recommended protocol for inducing labor and establishing procedures to ensure uniform compliance within and across care settings
  • Building teamwork communication skills and a "culture of safety" among prenatal healthcare professionals
  • Training healthcare providers who administer prenatal care on standardized practice, communication and safety culture
  • Promoting awareness about early elective deliveries and their related risks among expectant mothers and encourage active patient engagement.

"These efforts are designed to reduce infant morbidity and mortality in New Jersey, which ultimately means healthier babies," said Aline Holmes, RN, NJHA's senior vice president of clinical affairs and director of the NJHA Institute for Quality and Patient Safety. "And in turn, we expect to see the added benefits of better clinical outcomes, fewer adverse events and lower healthcare costs."

Project strategies will be based on leveraging the current success that NJHA and its partners in the Statewide Perinatal Safety Collaborative already have achieved in reducing early elective deliveries. In that effort, NJHA and the state have worked with New Jersey hospitals to voluntarily adopt new policies halting the practice of early elective deliveries before week 39 of a pregnancy, unless medically indicated. Noting that the final days of a pregnancy are critical for fetal development, these policies aim to ensure that all normal pregnancies proceed to full term.

New Jersey's efforts to improve prenatal care were recently reflected in the March of Dimes' annual report card, in which New Jersey saw its statewide grade upgraded to a B from the prior year's C. New Jersey was credited for reducing its overall rate of preterm birth from 11.7 percent in 2011 to 11.2 percent in 2012. New Jersey also scored points for its decline in the percent of women without health insurance (from 20.5 percent to 19.8 percent) and reduced rate for late preterm births (7.9 percent to 7.7 percent.)

With support from the new March of Dimes grant, NJHA will monitor ongoing performance, conduct a staff survey on teamwork perceptions and analyze data obtained from its Web-based data tool and the state Department of Health's Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology Program.

NJHA, based in Princeton, is a not-for-profit trade association that helps hospitals and other healthcare providers deliver quality, accessible and affordable healthcare. Its affiliates the Health Research and Educational Trust of New Jersey and the NJHA Institute for Quality and Patient Safety, also nonprofit, engage in programming and partnerships to improve healthcare quality and access.

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 raise funds to prevent premature birth and birth defects by walking in March for Babies at marchforbabies.org.

SOURCE New Jersey Hospital Association (NJHA)