Saint Peter’s University Hospital Launches ‘TeamBirth’

Saint Peter’s University Hospital, in conjunction with members of the New Jersey Department of Health and Human Services, celebrated the launch of TeamBirth, an evidence-based, national model for better provider and patient communication during the birthing experience. The goal is to empower all members of the care team, including the patient, to play an active role in shared decision-making as it has been shown to significantly improve safety, quality of care, and overall birthing outcomes.

TeamBirth is a structured method to foster better communication between laboring mothers and the clinical team caring for them. The NJ Quality Institute, in partnership with Ariadne Labs, is leading the initiative in the state. The program was developed by Ariadne Labs, which is a joint center for health systems innovation at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.

TeamBirth was designed around best practices in communication, teamwork, and clinical care. The initiative ensures that the individuals giving birth and the clinicians who are caring for them have shared input and understanding into decisions made during labor and delivery. The New Jersey Department of Health is a TeamBirth NJ partner and is providing funding, ensuring that lessons learned will be shared statewide.

Improving maternal health outcomes is currently a statewide priority in New Jersey. First Lady Tammy Murphy previously launched NurtureNJ, a program aimed to reduce the state’s maternal mortality by 50% over the next five years, while eliminating racial disparities in birth outcomes. New Jersey Department of Health data shows that pregnancy-related deaths in the state, measured per 100,000 live births, have been increasing from 12.8 (2011–2013) to 15.0 (2014–2016). In addition, figures show that Black and Hispanic women in New Jersey are seven times more likely to die in childbirth, according to data from 2014-2016 (46.9 per 100,000 live births) than White, Non-Hispanic women (6.5 per 100,000 live births). The First Lady’s initiative aims to turn these numbers around.

“Saint Peter’s University Hospital has been a leader in maternal health and we’re proud to be an active participant in TeamBirth, an initiative that will ensure better outcomes for expectant mothers and their newborns,” said Linda Carroll, MSN, RN, RN-BC, vice president of Patient Care Services and chief nursing officer at Saint Peter’s Healthcare System. “Our physicians, nurses and maternal care team members have enthusiastically supported TeamBirth and its practices which will transform the communication process between mothers and the healthcare providers that support them during one of the most exciting times in a woman’s life.”

According to Pamela Harmon, DNP, MSN, RNC-NIC, director of the Women and Children’s Division at Saint Peter’s University Hospital, and administrative director of the Mary V. O’Shea Birth Center at Saint Peter’s University Hospital, “We recently implemented TeamBirth and have already received positive feedback from patients and our team members. At the core of the program are team huddles comprised of expectant mothers, nurses, and other active members of the clinical care team including certified nurse-midwives. Using a whiteboard that is present in labor and delivery rooms, the patient’s care plan is updated ongoing as the labor process progresses. This simple visual ensures that there is clear communication and shared decision-making across all participants during every phase of the birthing process. The board serves as a shared reference for all.”

Items documented on the whiteboard include:

  • Promoting the roles of the laboring patient, nurse, and delivering provider as members of the care team with equally valuable input for decision-making
  • Eliciting the patient’s preferences, symptoms, and subjective experiences and integrate with clinical data to inform patient care plans
  • Distinguishing maternal, fetal, and labor progress statuses and care plans
  • Setting shared expectations for next the planned evaluation

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