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Maternity Care Needs Improvement, Health Tech Can Help

24 May 2024


  • Healthtech

The Birth Trauma Inquiry collected evidence from 1,300 women and found that maternity care of “ shockingly poor quality” is all too common in the UK. This landmark report concluded that good maternity care services were “the exception rather than the rule.”

Women shared stories of being left in soiled sheets or ringing for help with no response from care staff. The report also found that hospitals obscured errors that impeded parents’ attempts to get answers about their care experiences.

From 2022 to 2023, over a third of the NHS’ £1.1 billion maternity budget was spent on payments related to clinical negligence. To improve the state of maternity care, the Birth Trauma Inquiry recommends actions like recruiting more midwives and providing post-delivery check-ups with a GP.

Rhian Bulmer, Chief Partnerships Officer at Radar Healthcare sheds light on how health tech can streamline these efforts, helping care providers enhance the quality of their maternity services. ​​Rhian also hope to highlight how the potential of this technology extends beyond maternity care, elevating how healthcare data is utilised for real-time insights and long-term strategy.

Improving Incident Management

In the Birth Trauma Inquiry, some women reported “feeling like an inconvenience” to hospital staff. With best practices surrounding incident management, patients will hopefully feel the benefits of care professionals who have sufficient time and resources to focus on their needs.

Effective incident management empowers care professionals, allowing them to efficiently document and analyse incidents and helps to monitor the completion statuses of tasks in their workflow. Good record-keeping tools will hopefully also serve to document and analyse incidents for staff to review and learn from to improve patient experiences in the future.

By building best practices surrounding incident management, patients will hopefully feel its benefits including not mitigating the sense that they’re burdening overworked staff and feeling satisfied within an environment that’s able to efficiently provide patients comfort and support.

Without the right digital tools, the process of incident reporting can be tedious and feel like a drain on resources. However, with the right software, incident management can integrate seamlessly into your system and streamline reporting efficiency.

Elevating Maternity Care with Radar Healthcare’s Data-Powered Dashboards

One of the challenges within healthcare today, especially within the UK context, is the practical implementation of readily available technology. It is not just about having advanced tools but making them work effectively in real-world settings. Radar Healthcare’s maternity dashboard exemplifies this principle by offering an actionable and comprehensive view of quality and safety metrics within maternity services. In a healthcare ecosystem often criticised for its compartmentalisation, Radar Healthcare’s dashboards offer a holistic approach to patient safety.

These dashboards allows healthcare professionals to access detailed insights into audits, incidents, and their types and volumes. More importantly, it enables the breakdown of this data across different service levels, providing a granular view that was previously difficult to achieve. Such accessibility to information ensures that decisions can be made not only at an organisational level but also systematically, allowing for a seamless flow of best practice knowledge and data-informed decision-making processes.

Moreover, this innovation fosters a culture of transparency and continuous improvement. It empowers healthcare providers to swiftly identify areas for enhancement, implement changes, and share successes with peers, thus elevating the standard of care across the board.

Maternity Dashboard

Implementing Digital Maternity Services

Digitising services, including midwifery, has transformed the quality of maternity care for the better. Digital midwives are experienced midwives with enhanced knowledge of information technology services who manage and securely share digital health data.

Their role supports the greater team by facilitating multidisciplinary care professionals to work together in making timely and informed decisions. With midwives safely sharing data, this streamlines the clinical process, leading to improvements in overall care delivery. 

When an organisation relies solely on paper records, keeping information up to date can be a real challenge. In the morning, you could take notes on a woman’s prenatal consultation, but by the afternoon she may also have a bleed. Thus, the earlier record is already out of date. Also, if women and babies move to other hospitals, photocopying records and notes is extremely time-consuming and you run the risk of papers being mixed up or misplaced. 

With digitised records, they can be updated with much more ease and timeliness, guaranteeing that the records present the most current, accurate information possible when delivering care. Records can also be shared without expending valuable time and energy your staff could use more efficiently for their vital care tasks. 

Lastly, digital maternity services also promote accessibility and ensure that maternity patients can reliably access their own health information online. The NHS also utilises a tool that dictates health information from a user’s device in their preferred language including Urdu, Mandarin, and Polish, to accommodate all mothers and ensure they’re well-informed. 

Managing Workplace Compliance

In a 2023 survey conducted by Mumsnet, it found that 79% of respondents experienced some either physical, psychological, or emotional birth trauma. Of those women, 86% agreed that healthcare providers are desensitised to birth trauma. Moreover, 75% of women believe that care providers don’t do everything they can to prevent birth trauma from happening.

Prioritising exceptional carer-patient relations is key to creating safe, comforting care experiences for patients and boosting providers’ performance ratings. Patients need to feel understood and that their carers are well-equipped to address their needs.

Workplace compliance tools help assign training requirements, run checks on skills competence, and guarantee that staff stay updated on office policies. Using these tools simplifies the work of supervising and maintaining a fully competent, compliant workforce.

This approach also aims to support staff especially to improve wellbeing, and to ensure that staff are completely compliant with training and policy, which will protect them against potential financial and legal penalties.

Maternity care needs improvement

Being Proactive and Assessing Risks

Mitigating risks that may cause harm to your staff or patients is of the utmost importance to fostering smooth daily operations. Strong risk management is also essential to avoid wasting precious time and resources that would be better spent focusing on care delivery.

It will also protect organisations from financial or legal consequences, like lawsuits or cyberattacks, both of which could cause irreparable damage to their reputations. With less money spent on clinical negligence payments, it likely means more money in other areas dedicated to enhancing the quality of staff performance and patient experience.

Digital risk management tools can be used to configure risk registers that are tailored to your organisation’s needs and create custom action plans aimed at improving services and safety. These will enable your team to work more effectively across your organisation, avoiding potential harm to staff and patients alike.

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Meet the author

Rhian Bulmer, Chief Partnerships Officer

In her role as CPO, Rhian Bulmer strengthens Radar Healthcare’s collaborative approach to driving innovation within healthcare. Rhian has over 27 years of experience in health tech and social care, arming her with experience across all elements of the healthcare system from primary care to ambulance care settings.

Connect with Rhian on LinkedIn