Washington Post: One hospital’s evidence-based approach to reducing C-section rates
In the U.S., Caesarean deliveries are twice as common as they should be. So health care facilities are creating policies designed to drive the numbers down.
By WP BrandStudio
The most common major surgery in America for women isn’t knee or hip replacement surgery—it’s a Caesarean section.
One in every three births in the U.S. happens via C-section, a rate that has increased by more than 500 percent since the 1970s. This rise is due to a constellation of factors, including increased maternal age, inconsistent protocols and misconceptions about the risks and benefits of getting a C-section.
And while some of these surgeries are medically necessary, about half of them aren’t. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that no more than 15 percent of childbirths be performed via C-Section, since any number higher than that isn’t proven to reduce maternal mortality or mitigate the risks of childbirth. Knowing this, hospitals are doubling down on efforts to reduce the amount of C-sections that are performed nationwide.
Virginia Hospital Center (VHC), a healthcare facility in Arlington, Va., is one such hospital. In 2014, VHC discovered that their C-section rate was 33 percent—much higher than the limit recommended by the WHO and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG).
So they pulled together their leadership, medical and registered nurse teams and designed an evidence-based approach that analyzes every single C-section performed in the hospital. If C-sections are found to be higher than the recommended standard, they work with obstetricians to ensure that those rates go down—and that they’re always treating patients in the best way possible.
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