Dr. Joshua Best delivers babies at Lane Regional Medical Center but in the world of best practices he also seeks to deliver well mothers and positive health outcomes.

The Birth Ready Designation, assigned by a statewide collaborative, recognizes the high quality of care and preparedness offered at Lane’s Birthing Center.

Louisiana Perinatal Quality Collaborative awarded the hospital Birth Ready Designation because of it implemented clinical practices to promote safe, equitable and dignified births. Best said the improved perinatal health outcomes represent a crucial development.

“It certainly is very important, especially in light of things that we're learning about the process and where we need to do better,” he said.

Dawn Fuller, director of Women’s Services at Lane, said the hospitals receiving the designation undergo a rigorous application and review process by LaPQC. She echoed Best’s statement about the process and said the areas reviewed are the participation in collaborative learning, health disparity and patient partnership, policies and procedures, structures and education, and outcome and process measures.

“We met these rigorous standards mainly related to giving good care to patients, safety, giving dignified births,” she said.

Fuller said the hospital looked for and addressed how racial health disparities could affect the birthing process at Lane. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention define health disparities as preventable differences in the burden of disease, injury, violence, or opportunities to achieve optimal health that are experienced by socially disadvantaged populations.

“We look at racial disparities and factor that into how we care for patients,” Fuller said. “Lane is committed to providing compassionate, family friendly, and specialized healthcare to every patient, every time.”

Best, one of four staff OB/GYNs at Lane, is in his 11th year of his practice and at the hospital. He said the Birth Ready Designation and the work of the Louisiana Perinatal Collaborative gives him and his peers tools to keep better track of what we're doing well and to be more aware of what they need to work on.

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The designation requires a lot of reporting on babies and mothers. “They provide us with the tools to better keep track of these measures,” Best said. “It is a lot of work for Dawn and the team on Labor Delivery to be in charge of, but it give us the tools to things more effectively and efficiently.”

Fuller said that a primary example of a health measure tracked is the hemorrhage initiative. Postpartum hemorrhage is more bleeding than normal after the birth of a baby. In the United States, 1 to 5 women in 100 will postpartum hemorrhage complications.

“Based on health data, we point out that these specific patients are at a greater risk for hemorrhage,” she said. “So, we now have a written hemorrhage policy to use as a guideline. This includes a hemorrhage cart where we have items that can be used by the doctor and nurses if a mother hemorrhages.”

Newborn outcomes tracked after birth also factor into the Lane designation. Fuller said that the staff strives to give better care to mothers and have that reflect on the care those mothers can give to their newborns. The hospital works with the Louisiana Department of Hospitals’ breast-feeding program to promote healthy baby outcomes long after the birth experience at the hospital.

Lane delivers about 300 babies each year and averaging 30 deliveries a month allows the team to give more personalized care, Fuller said.

Birth and the birthing process outcomes has allow Best the opportunity to focus on what he termed the “fourth trimester,” or mortality prevention long after the baby has been born. Complications of the fourth trimester include postpartum depression and elevated blood pressure.

Best said he feels treating and screening helps promote long-term positive outcomes.

“I'm not sure how that impacts the Birth Ready Designation, but it's certainly something that's very important and something that all the physicians in our practice are, are working towards: taking as good care and being as diligent and proactive with the women after they delivered the baby,” he said.