Maternity care is the highest-volume health service for most California hospitals, but it can be difficult for hospitals to link and analyze the data needed to produce robust statistics on practices within their Labor and Delivery units. Recent trends—including rising rates of maternal morbidity and mortality and increased utilization of the cesarean procedure—suggest a need for enhanced measurement and feedback on the quality of care provided to mothers and newborns. The Maternal Data Center, operated by the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative, a program under Stanford University School of Medicine’s Division of Neonatology, is an online tool that helps hospitals calculate, report and improve perinatal performance metrics. Participating providers can track key maternity measures at the hospital level as well as drill down to physician and patient data. Also, hospital level metrics are publicly available.
Over time, under the supervision of the MDC Steering Committee, CMQCC may also produce a select set of performance measures to inform patient decisions. Ultimately, the project sponsors envision that a select set of performance measures will be publicly reported, much as the CMS Hospital Compare site reports hospital-level data on care for pneumonia, diabetes and cardiac conditions. For measures not already being publicly reported in California, reporting may occur after meeting certain criteria.