February 6, 2017
WARNER ROBINS, GA -- The Partnership for Health and Accountability (PHA) presented its prestigious Quality and Patient Safety Award to Houston Medical Center in Warner Robins for its project that prevented the incidence of pre-term births. The project, titled, “Population Health – Preventing Pre-Term Births Among At-Risk Populations,” tied for second place in the Hospitals with 100-299 Beds category. These annual awards recognize Georgia health care organizations for achievement in reducing the risk of medical errors and improving patient safety and medical outcomes.
“As part of our efforts to improve the health of our community, Houston Healthcare completes a Community Health Needs Assessment every three years. As a result of this Assessment, we identified a number of babies born in the community were born too early or the mothers did not receive appropriate prenatal care,” stated Beth Jones, RNC, Director of Houston Healthcare’s Community Education department, EduCare. “It is vital to the long-term health of these babies to receive appropriate prenatal care. Pre-term birth is the leading cause of neonatal death in the United States and places infants at risk for lifelong disabilities such as cerebral palsy, blindness and physical and neurological impairment.”
“The facts were significant but even more concerning were the stories some of our staff members shared about caring for women who walked in to deliver who had not received any prenatal care, or women with a strong history of having babies too early and the struggle to cope with the loss of a child,” said Melinda Hartley, DNP, MBA, RN, NE-BC, VP, Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer for Houston Healthcare.
To address these challenges, the project “Preventing Pre-term Births Among At-Risk Populations” was initiated. Houston Healthcare leads a Perinatal Coalition comprised of organizations in our community which serve pregnant women. As a result of this project, the Coalition solidified a March of Dimes grant, partnered with Public Health to start the first Prenatal Clinic in Houston County, and provided additional training for health care providers in methods to prevent pre-term deliveries.
“Prevention of pre-term births ensures the health and safety of mothers and babies,” said Georgia Hospital Association Chief Medical Officer Doug Patten, M.D. “We applaud Houston Medical Center, not only for its success in this area, but also for sharing best practices with other hospitals across the state so each has the opportunity to make critical progress in patient safety and ensure the best and safest care possible for patients.”
“By initiating this project, we’ve been able to successfully identify women at risk for a pre-term birth and provide additional care, support and education to improve their birth outcomes,” shared Hartley.