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Patient Safety Awareness Week 2023

Newborn baby with mother
Doctors performing a vaginal delivery

March 12th through the 18th this year is Patient Safety Awareness Week.   This week-long observation of all things patient safety highlights the role in which healthcare professionals contribute to advancing patient safety, reducing uncertainty and improving healthcare outcomes.  These markers benefit all stakeholders in the healthcare space – families, the patients themselves, and those who are providing care.

One of the areas highly dependent on the markers listed above is the reduction of maternal mortality.  You may find it hard to believe, but the United States ranks 65th among industrialized nations in terms of maternal death.  We have fallen to this number from 55th in 2018.

When women of color older than 30 are considered as a subset in the US, their rate of mortality in childbirth is four to five times as high as that of white women.

One specific area of complication for these women is postpartum hemorrhage (PPH).   These preventable events are the cause of 27% of maternal deaths worldwide and 11% of U.S. maternal deaths.  A full 20% of women who experience a hemorrhage have no identifiable risk factors.

Compared to vaginal delivery, women undergoing cesarean delivery (CD) incur the highest risk of PPH and hemorrhage-related morbidity.  

A concerning statistic reported by Centers for Disease Control & Prevention indicates that the rate of postpartum hemorrhage is also rising sharply.  For postpartum hemorrhage with blood transfusions, this occurred 7.9 times per 10,000 delivery hospitalizations in 1993 and later spiked to 39.7 per 10,000 in 2014.

Because of worsening maternal morbidity and mortality, The Joint Commission revealed that prevention, early recognition, and timely treatment for maternal hemorrhage and severe hypertension/preeclampsia had the highest impact in decreasing these maternal complications.  The Joint Commission suggests the following to improve care:

  • Encouraging access to prenatal care. 
  • Screening of patients for hypertension, risk of hemorrhage and other medical and socioeconomic factors. 
  • Preparing for the possibility of hemorrhage and other complications. 
  • Implementing performance standards and improvement initiatives in every unit. 
  • Addressing unconscious biases of healthcare providers toward people of color through universal training. 

As you can imagine, maternal hemorrhage is an “all hands on deck” life or death situation.  Each member of the team requires understanding their role as well as how their role may shift depending on the variables that might present in such a high stakes situation. 

One way to reduce variations of care and protect patients and families is to increase team readiness for these situations with scenario-based learning leveraging a high-fidelity surgical simulator.

Simulation training is a proven method of learning and has many benefits.  The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) now requires simulation to be utilized in Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN) training programs.

Obstetric simulation demonstrates positive effects on clinical outcomes for postpartum hemorrhage, and can improve teamwork in response to obstetric emergencies.

How OEI Supports Patient Safety

Operative Experience, Inc. (OEI) provides the world’s only fully-operative emergency obstetrics training solution that delivers a true, hands-in-the-body surgical experience. 

Our C-Celia Emergency Obstetrics Suite enables you to offer your students unprecedented anatomical and surgical fidelity,  uses the same standard instruments you  use to incise, dissect, retract and suture realistic tissue, and offers realistic simulated amniotic fluid and blood.  The suite can ensure your students master:

  • Emergency C-Section Delivery—enabling full transverse or vertical emergency C-Section and delivery procedures, featuring abdominal wall and uterine incision and repair.
  • Fetal Extraction—experience and practice difficult deliveries such as shoulder dystocia, breech, nuchal cord, prolapse arm and use of suction assist and forceps.
  • Postpartum Hemorrhage Control—practice hemorrhage control procedures, repair of complex lacerations and uterine artery injuries, hemorrhage control techniques including Bakri balloon, B-Lynch suture, Hayman suture and O’Leary stitch.
  • Emergency Hysterectomy—training for postpartum and caesarean hysterectomy procedures including hemorrhage control and fully-operable removal of the uterus.

OEI also offers the RealMom vaginal delivery simulator.  RealMom provides a  lifelike wireless, full-body female simulator and full-term baby with unsurpassed realism and lifelike appearance. It features natural-feeling soft tissue, accurate internal anatomy and authentic pelvic structure.  This simulator is available in Caucasian, Hispanic, Asian and African-American skin tones.

Childbirth is a precious moment for mother and baby but when things do go wrong a prepared delivery team can mean the difference between life and death. It’s critical that your learners train for and are prepared for any eventuality in the labor and delivery room.

By combining the ReallMom vaginal delivery simulator and the C-Celia Emergency Obstetric Simulation Suite, a fully integrated and complete birthing experience can be provided for your learners — from natural deliveries to fully-operative emergency c-section and postpartum hemorrhage control and emergency hysterectomy.

OBGYN students and teachers practicing on Operative Experience labor and delivery simulators

How You Can Support Patient Safety Week

Many healthcare organizations will be participating in this important week.  Safety organizations have provided a variety of activities to mark the occasion.  

Here are a few ideas to help you participate in Patient Safety Week:

Look for collateral or marketing pieces throughout your healthcare environment. These pieces highlight why safety is important or share safety tips.

Several online discussion forums for healthcare professionals and stakeholders are organized throughout this celebration. Participate in the observance of Patient Safety Awareness Week by registering and joining one of these online lectures organized by the National Patient Safety Foundation  on safety awareness and protocols.

Share on social media platforms. Share posts or hashtags to create awareness of the importance of patient safety. You could share your experience or expertise and have others learn from you.

Read up on patient safety. Read journals or articles on patient safety and the role patients, relatives, and healthcare workers have to play to protect and ensure patient safety. Learn about important resources and tips to ensure patient safety.

Ready to train like a pro?