Regional Medical Center has been recognized by the Tennessee Hospital Association’s (THA) Tennessee Center for Patient Safety for its leadership in reducing the number of babies born electively between 37 to 39 weeks. There is a greater risk of complications associated with births prior to 39 weeks, and waiting until 39 weeks allows for better growth and development of vital organs such as the brain, lungs and liver.
Regional Medical Center successfully met its goal of decreasing the number of babies delivered electively between 37 to 39 weeks gestation to 5 percent or less and has maintained this goal for a minimum of six consecutive months. This dramatically increases the chances for good physical and developmental health of babies. It also allows for better health and safety of the mother. The hospital was awarded a congratulatory banner to recognize its team’s outstanding effort by the Tennessee Center for Patient Safety.
Regional Medical Center is part of a statewide Healthy Tennessee Babies Are Worth the Wait initiative launched less than two years ago to increase awareness of the benefits of full-term delivery. In May 2012, nearly 16 percent of all Tennessee deliveries that occurred prior to 39 weeks gestation were considered elective. Today, that number has been reduced by almost 85 percent. Among other activities, Regional Medical Center adopted a strict hard-stop policy that prohibits early elective deliveries before 39 weeks unless there is a clear medical risk to the mother or the baby.
The Healthy Tennessee Babies Are Worth the Wait program is a partnership of hospitals, the Tennessee Department of Health, THA, Tennessee Initiative for Perinatal Quality Care, March of Dimes and Tennessee Center for Patient Safety. The coalition has been recognized nationally as an example of successful collaboration in patient safety.