Santa Rosa Medical Center’s Quality Improvement Program Results in Fewer Unnecessary Early Deliveries

Published on April 09, 2013 with No Comments

Milton, FL — April 9, 2013 – A study published today in Obstetrics & Gynecology shows that multistate, hospital-based quality improvement programs, including the one at Santa Rosa Medical Center, can be remarkably effective at reducing early elective deliveries of babies.

The rate of elective early term deliveries (i.e., inductions of labor and Cesarean sections without a medical reason) in a group of 25 participating hospitals fell significantly from 27.8 percent to 4.8 percent during the one-year project period, an 83 percent decline.

By implementing these quality improvement measures, which included enhanced education for nurses, new scheduling policies and improvement of patient education, Santa Rosa reduced the total number of early-term and preterm deliveries at the hospital. “When we began the study, 43 percent of all our deliveries were prior to 39 weeks; at the end of the study, that percentage fell to 31 percent,” said Dorothy Grace, MSN, Director of Women’s Services at Santa Rosa. “Every month, we had conference calls with the other hospitals to discuss progress. The March of Dimes provided us with data so we could see how the quality-improvement measures were making a difference.”

The March of Dimes, which partly funded the initiative, says this is good news because babies delivered before full-term are at increased risk of serious health problems and death in their first year of life.

“This quality improvement program demonstrates that we can create a change in medical culture to prevent unneeded early deliveries and give many more babies a healthy start in life,” says Bryan T. Oshiro, MD, of Loma Linda University School of Medicine and lead author of the study.

“We were proud to take part in this important study, which will help eliminate deliveries that aren’t medically necessary prior to 39 weeks,” said Phillip Wright, CEO of Santa Rosa. “Our participation and feedback will help ensure that other facilities will adopt these important quality measures effectively, which will ultimately result in improved birth outcomes in Florida and across the country.”

Santa Rosa Medical Center implemented a toolkit called “Elimination of Non-medically Indicated (Elective) Deliveries before 39 Weeks Gestational Age” to guide changes in early term delivery practices.  The toolkit was developed in partnership with the March of Dimes, the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative and the California Maternal Child and Adolescent Division within the California Department of Public Health. It can be downloaded free from the Prematurity Prevention Resource Center at

Santa Rosa Medical Center is one of the first hospitals in the nation to participate in a collaborative of perinatal quality improvement advocates with state health departments, academic health centers, and March of Dimes chapters from the five most populous states in the country: California, Florida, Illinois, New York, and Texas. These five states account for an estimated 38 percent of all births in the United States.

The March of Dimes urges hospitals, health care providers, and patients to follow American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists guidelines that if a pregnancy is healthy, to wait for labor to begin on its own. The final weeks of pregnancy are crucial to a baby’s health because many vital organs, including the brain and lungs, are still developing.

The March of Dimes has worked with local and national partners, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services “Strong Start” initiative, on a campaign to raise awareness about the importance of full-term pregnancy. To see the latest public service ad, go to YouTube at

“A Multistate Quality Improvement Program to Decrease Elective Deliveries Before 39 Weeks,” by Dr. Oshiro and others, appears in the April 8 online edition of Obstetrics & Gynecology Vol. 121, No. 5, May 2013.

About Santa Rosa Medical Center

Santa Rosa Medical Center is a full service 129-bed modern hospital facility. Located on Berryhill Road in Milton, Santa Rosa Medical Center is quickly and easily reached from all points in Santa Rosa County.  With nearly 400 associates, more than 100 volunteers and more than 100 physicians on staff Santa Rosa Medical Center is well equipped to meet all of your healthcare needs.  Our mission is to provide America’s best local healthcare to our community.  Most recently Santa Rosa Medical Center was recognized for a second year in a row by The Joint Commission as a Top Performer.  Santa Rosa Medical Center is one of only 244 facilities nationwide to receive this distinction for the last two years.   Also part of the Santa Rosa Medical Center family is the Santa Rosa Medical Group.  Santa Rosa Medical Group consists of family medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics & gynecology, urogynecology, neurology, pulmonology and general surgery practices as well as our walk-in and occupational health clinics.  Santa Rosa Medical Center…Close By, Far Better.  For more information please visit, or call 850.626.7762.


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