Erlanger Recognized For Leadership In Improving Infant Health

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Erlanger Health System has been recognized by the Tennessee Hospital Association’s Tennessee Center for Patient Safety for its leadership in reducing the number of babies born electively between 37 to 39 weeks.

Erlanger successfully met its goal of decreasing the number of elective deliveries between 37 to 39 weeks gestation to five percent or less and has maintained this goal for a minimum of six consecutive months. This dramatically increases the chances for good physical and developmental health of babies. It also allows for better health and safety of the mother. The Tennessee Center for Patient Safety awarded a congratulatory banner to Erlanger in recognition of its team’s outstanding efforts.

“Babies born too early are at risk for respiratory distress, jaundice, hypoglycemia and other conditions that require more medical care and put them at greater risk for death before their first birthday,” said Traci Josephsen, Women's Service Line administrator at Erlanger.

Craig A. Becker, THA president, said, “That is why the work being done at Erlanger is so vitally important to all Tennesseans. Results like these represent the combined efforts of every single professional at this hospital, from the physicians and nursing staff to the board of trustees.”

Erlanger is part of a statewide Healthy Tennessee Babies Are Worth the Wait initiative launched less than two years ago to increase awareness of the benefits of full-term delivery. In May 2012, nearly 16 percent of all Tennessee deliveries that occurred prior to 39 weeks gestation were considered elective. Today, that number has been reduced by almost 85 percent. Among other activities, Erlanger adopted a strict hard-stop policy that prohibits early elective deliveries before 39 weeks unless there is a clear medical risk to the mother or the baby.

The Healthy Tennessee Babies Are Worth the Wait program is a partnership of the local hospital, the Tennessee Department of Health, THA, Tennessee Initiative for Perinatal Quality Care, March of Dimes and Tennessee Center for Patient Safety. The coalition has been recognized nationally as an example of successful collaboration in patient safety.

For more information about the Healthy Tennessee Babies Are Worth the Wait program, go to www.healthytennesseebabies.com.


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