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Benchmarking: Easy Does It

by Cassie Moore, ACNM Writer and Editor

If you aren’t participating in the ACNM Benchmarking Project, what’s holding you back? Are you afraid that collecting your data will be too overwhelming? Are you unsure how to pull reports from your electronic medical record system?

You may be surprised to learn that many practices—from very large to very small—still gather their benchmarking data “the old-fashioned way,” by hand.

Mary Traub, CNM, director of midwifery services for Baylor College of Medicine at Ben Taub General Hospital in Houston, says her practice developed their own Intrapartum Statistics Form* in Excel that lists benchmarking measures and other birth details. When a patient comes to the practice in labor, midwives use a hospital patient identification sticker that lists basic information about the patient to get the process started. After the client gives birth, the attending midwife immediately fills out the Intrapartum Statistics Form by hand using her knowledge of the birth and also attaches the ID sticker to the form.

On an ongoing basis, when there is downtime in Labor and Delivery or when administrative time is available, another midwife in the practice will tally up all of the Intrapartum Statistics Forms into another Excel document that tracks the practice’s benchmarking statistics.* Traub fills out the ACNM Benchmarking Survey based on these figures, after double-checking the information.

Though Traub has an efficient system in place, her practice by no means answers every single Benchmarking Project question—but that’s okay! ACNM only asks that midwives answer six of the benchmarking questions to participate.

The Baylor practice is considered large, delivering about 650-700 babies per year, and has earned best practice status for their low rate of low APGAR scores and low induction rates. Traub says she is supportive of benchmarking because “everybody is so busy and benchmarking is something that business people understand. It’s well worth the time spent on it—numbers talk.” She recommends other midwives develop an ongoing process to record benchmarking statistics and not wait until the last minute.

“Just do it. It may not be absolutely perfect but will be very close. As time goes on it gets better and better.”

Stay tuned for more examples of how other midwifery practices keep track of their benchmarking information. 

*Note: The forms linked above are examples of forms that could be used to keep track of benchmarking statistics. You may need to customize for your own practice needs.

Posted 5/14/2012 2:28:19 PM



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