BACKGROUND: The Safety Program for Perinatal Care (SPPC) seeks to improve safety on labor and delivery (L&D) units through three mutually reinforcing components: (1) fostering a culture of teamwork and communication, (2) applying safety science principles to care processes; and (3) in situ simulation. The objective of this study was to describe the SPPC implementation experience and evaluate the short-term impact on unit patient safety culture, processes, and adverse events.
METHODS: We supported SPPC implementation by L&D units with a program toolkit, trainings, and technical assistance. We evaluated the program using a pre-post, mixed-methods design. Implementing units reported uptake of program components, submitted hospital discharge data on maternal and neonatal adverse events, and participated in semi-structured interviews. We measured changes in safety and quality using the Modified Adverse Outcome Index (MAOI) and other perinatal care indicators.
RESULTS: Forty-three L&D units submitted data representing 97,740 deliveries over 10 months of follow-up. Twenty-six units implemented all three program components. L&D staff reported improvements in teamwork, communication, and unit safety culture that facilitated applying safety science principles to clinical care. The MAOI decreased from 5.03% to 4.65% (absolute change -0.38% [95% CI, -0.88% to 0.12%]). Statistically significant decreases in indicators for obstetric trauma without instruments and primary cesarean delivery were observed. A statistically significant increase in neonatal birth trauma was observed, but the overall rate of unexpected newborn complications was unchanged.
CONCLUSIONS: The SPPC had a favorable impact on unit patient safety culture and processes, but short-term impact on maternal and neonatal adverse events was mixed.