Data are the foundation of a better healthcare system. The seminal Institute of Medicine report, Best Care at Lower Cost: The Path to Continuously Learning Health Care in America, points to improved data infrastructure as the top priority for achieving better care, system improvement, and the generation of new knowledge. And rapid adoption of electronic health records and other digital systems has created plenty of healthcare data.
But a report in yesterday’s New York Times sums up why more data doesn’t easily translate into the ability to learn or improve anything: disparate data standards, formats, and data collection systems leave a mess that requires a massive cleanup effort before raw data turn into insights.
Data standards can help, starting with consensus on how to define clinical concepts. The multi-stakeholder reVITALize project, convened by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), aimed to do that, and the project released a set of concept definitions earlier this year, answering questions like, “When is a pregnancy full-term?,” and “When is a labor considered spontaneous?” Although these questions seem basic, small variations in how they are defined can reduce our ability to use the data to measure or improve care.
Building on this work, the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) is leading the development of additional concept definitions that address questions like “Did the woman receive midwifery care?” and “Did the midwife collaborate with a physician?,” and capturing critical aspects of care for all provider groups, such as care coordination and continuity. Maternity Neighborhood has partnered with ACNM to lead this effort, which included a multi-stakeholder workshop to develop draft definitions this spring.
The draft definitions are now open for public comment, and we are looking for all stakeholders – women, families, policy makers, clinicians, payers, and more, to weigh in. You can review the draft definitions and provide comments through September 15 at this link.
As a company founded on supporting women-centered, team-based care, we believe that midwives and collaborative care models are critical to a better healthcare system, and we are committed to helping scale up the best models with the help of data-driven insights. Bringing clarity to collaboration through better data definitions and standards is an effort we’re proud to be part of.