Overlake Medical Center and EvergreenHealth Hospital announced their collaboration with Ariadne Labs on the Team Birth Project on Jan. 18.
The Team Birth Project aims to empower women and couples to communicate their birth plans and to share in the decision-making process during childbirth. The project was created in an effort to reduce the number of unnecessary cesarean deliveries.
The hospitals are two of only four hospitals in the country partnering with Ariadne Labs — a joint center of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
The Team Birth Project launched at Overlake’s Childbirth Center (CBC) on Jan. 22.
Overlake Medical Center president and CEO Mike Marsh previously said Overlake’s collective goal is to make Washington State the safest place to have a baby. Marsh added they are dedicated to forging that path alongside their partners.
“It’s not just about patient safety and clinical liability,” Marsh said. “It’s also about the experience. The experience in today’s environment requires communicating [with] our patients and their families in the process. That’s what I see this wonderful opportunity with Ariadne will bring for us to elevate our game, in terms of how do we engage with our patients, their families, and their care in a way that makes them part of this team sport that we are a part of.”
The base of the 18-month Team Birth Project is the labor and birth planning board. The simple patient-facing whiteboard is present in every labor and delivery room, serving as an ongoing and evolving shared reference for patients, families and their care team.
“It’s not complicated,” said Amber Weiseth, associate director for the Delivery Decisions Initiative at Ariadne Labs. “It makes communication transparent and accessible to every person who is in the care team.”
Weiseth added that the labor and birth planning board was meant to be a simple solution for complex problems. The tool is meant to cultivate teamwork, communication, and empowerment of women and families.
As part of the program “huddles” are held regularly by providers, staff and families to discuss care decisions and preferences as they align with the birth plan.
For first-time parents Natalie and Alex Lytton of Redmond, whose son was born on Jan 21., communicating the mother’s birth plan was important.
“I was concerned about making sure that everybody knew what she wanted,” Alex Lytton said.
“I came with a simple birth plan,” Natalie Lytton said. “They collected it all on the board. They got everything I wanted, including some of the other medical techniques.”
Natalie Lytton said she felt like they were heard by the care team, which led to a good birth experience at Overlake. They both agreed they had good doctors, nurses and staff.
The process of labor was communicated clearly to the Lytton’s, and they appreciated having the evolving process written on the whiteboard. The tool was also helpful for the father, as his main concern was making sure the care team knew what his wife wanted.
Each delivery room has a whiteboard that is divided into four categories: the care team, the patients’ preferences, the birth plan that includes the categories of maternal, fetal, and progress, and the next assessments. But the temporary whiteboards are a small glimpse of what is to come.
“To give the patients the knowledge and the understanding of their birth process, I think makes a huge difference,” said Dr. Kristin Graham, medical director of Women’s and Infant’s Services at Overlake. “I think it also allows more discussion… communicating and understanding why we’re doing everything along the way and allowing patients to understand that.”
Dr. Graham added that the project will reinforce the idea that providing high-quality care is equally as important as communicating in a way that ensures the birthing family’s values, concerns and preferences align with the care they are delivering.
EvergreenHealth’s Family Maternity Center (FMC) in Kirkland also launched the Team Birth Project on Jan. 23.
“We are honored to have been chosen to participate in the Team Birth Project which supports our Family Maternity Center in further empowering women and families as they collaborate their care team to make the best possible decisions together as a team during labor,” EvergreenHealth CEO Amy Beiter said in a press release.
To learn more about Delivery Decisions Initiative and the Team Birth Project, go online to www.ariadnelabs.org.