Are Childbirth Complication Rates and the Reasons Behind The Secrecy?
Maternity hospitals that refuse to release data showing complication rates in their facilities can hide the dangers mother and child face during the delivery process. Mothers have a right to know the rates of preeclampsia, miscarriage, infection, and birth injuries within a facility. This data would help them make informed decisions and helps them avoid facilities with high rates of complications. Without access to this data, mothers are forced to make decisions that can have adverse, potentially fatal consequences.
Data Shows Alarming Complication Rates
From 2014 to 2017, data gathered within US hospitals showed that one in eight hospitals showed complication rates that were more than twice the median rate of complications in all US healthcare facilities. Nationwide, approximately 50,000 women suffer injuries during childbirth each year. This makes America one of the most dangerous “developed” countries in the world for mother and child.
Data Creates a Baseline for Care
Quality data provides invaluable insight into the treatment a facility offers patients. Health providers can use this data to evaluate the care they are providing and to adjust operations to correct deficiencies. Further, mothers can use this data to determine whether a particular healthcare facility has the skills and experience required to provide effective care.
Hiding the Data
Much of the data related to birth complications is hidden within other, larger statistics. This makes it difficult for mothers to determine the precise rates of certain complications such as hypertension, hemorrhaging, gestational diabetes, etc. Government entities such as the CDC, hospitals, and others responsible for gathering and reviewing this data defend the practice.
According to those entities, the public isn’t capable of understanding the nuances within the data and the different case mix profiles. In their eyes, failure to understand how to interpret and understand these nuances could lead mothers to make poor decisions related to their health. They also claim that the current methods of collecting and comparing the data provide a false picture of the true risks mother and child face during the delivery process. For instance, hospitals with lower rates of birth complications may actually be safer than hospitals with higher recorded rates simply because of the difference in the number of high-risk pregnancies handled by one hospital as compared to the other.