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
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.