Five Questions With: Elizabeth Rochin

Dr. Elizabeth Rochin spent last month becoming comfortable in her new role as president of the National Perinatal Information Center. Based in Providence, the center works with hospitals, patient safety organizations, insurers and others to collect and distribute data relevant to improving care for mothers and newborns.

Rochin comes to Rhode Island from her most recent post as vice president of education and clinical solutions and chief nursing officer for the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nursing.

PBN: What is your first priority as president of NPIC?

ROCHIN: Maternal morbidity and mortality in the United States continues to be a tremendous challenge. In fact, the United States has the highest rate of maternal mortality of any developed country in the world. The National Perinatal Information Center is positioned to be an integral partner in providing services and support to hospitals and organizations not only here in Rhode Island but also throughout the nation.

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My first priority is to ensure that NPIC continues to have an active seat at the table for discussions surrounding maternal morbidity and mortality locally here in Rhode Island, as well as nationally and internationally. As an active community partner, we are committed to reducing preventable maternal morbidity and mortality and providing the data and data analytics to support quality improvement science.

Over 700 women die from pregnancy-related complications in the United States each year, and over 50,000 more suffer from severe maternal morbidity. And as a newcomer to Rhode Island, I do look forward to making connections to those who work in our space, as well as to those who share the same commitment to improvement science and to enhancing the care of women and newborns.

PBN: From your years of experience in nursing and leadership in health care, where is improvement needed most in perinatal settings?

ROCHIN: Systematic, consistent and evidence-based care for pregnant and postpartum women and their newborns is absolutely essential to ensuring the best outcome. There are several key areas that perinatal settings could implement now to enhance and improve perinatal care.

NPIC is proud to be an Executive Committee member for AIM, the Alliance for Innovation for Maternal Health. AIM is grant funded by the HRSA Maternal Child Health Bureau. Through AIM, hospitals across the United States are implementing care “bundles” that are systematic, consistent processes that can improve the care a woman receives during childbirth. These bundles include several important aspects: readiness; recognition and prevention; response; and reporting/learning.

Readiness, recognition and response are key areas that should be a part of every hospital and health care organization that cares for pregnant and postpartum mothers and their families. In other words, is the hospital or birth center you are considering ready to care for potential complications of childbirth? Can the staff recognize potential complications and quickly mobilize a response to that complication that includes all members of the health care team? Does the facility conduct drills to assist with a response to a complication such as postpartum hemorrhage or hypertensive crisis? Does the hospital or birth center provide consistent and culturally sensitive care for all women, regardless of race, ethnicity and that is free from systemic bias?

There are many hospitals across the nation that already implement AIM bundles and participate in quality improvement, but many more do not. I look forward to Rhode Island joining the list of states that are actively engaging in AIM and partnering with NPIC to reduce and eventually eliminate preventable maternal morbidity and mortality.

PBN: How does NPIC work with hospitals and other organizations, particularly in Rhode Island?

ROCHIN: The National Perinatal Information Center works with three delivery hospitals here in Rhode Island, such as Women & Infants Hospital, as well as hospitals across the country to provide detailed data analytics and analysis of key outcome measures, particularly in the care of women and newborns. This data allows hospitals and other health care organizations to benchmark themselves against others in their care outcomes, as well as offers those interested in tracking and measuring outcomes the data needed to better identify opportunities for improvement, or learn from others who are excelling in their care and outcomes.

I am looking forward to NPIC’s contributions when Rhode Island launches its own Maternal Morbidity and Mortality Review Committee. No newborn should ever go home without a loving mother.

PBN: What specific issues is NPIC researching right now?

ROCHIN: There are several key areas that NPIC is researching to enhance improvement science for those caring for women and newborns. The first area is exploring social determinants of health, and how these specific indicators may have significant impact on pregnancy and maternal health. Social determinants of health include access to resources, impact of racism, availability of transportation, socioeconomic conditions, education and social support, to name a few. NPIC is now actively linking these to maternal outcomes, and we are working to provide foundational information for supporting additional work in this area.

NPIC is also working with researchers to advance the Adverse Outcome Index. This measurement, made up of 10 adverse events, can offer a unique and comprehensive exploration of quality of care. In addition to these research areas, NPIC is home to the Perinatal Center Database, one of the largest multistate perinatal discharge datasets available for research and benchmarking analytics.

PBN: When does NPIC’s work directly affect patients?

ROCHIN: NPIC’s work directly impacts those who care for patients, and in turn, impacts patients every day. Improving maternal and newborn care is what NPIC is founded on, and a mission that we live out every day. Our member hospitals and those who seek out our data analytics services are committed to improving maternal and newborn quality of life, maternal and newborn quality of care, and assuring that those caring for mothers and newborns have the information they need to make clinical, financial and administrative decisions that benefit the health of our communities.

Maternal and newborn health is a bellwether of community health, and as such, NPIC is committed to making a positive difference in the lives of women, newborns and their families every day. We are ready to stand with Rhode Island as a committed community and health care partner in the reduction of maternal morbidity and mortality. I welcome our Rhode Island and surrounding communities to learn more about NPIC and our commitment to women and newborns, and to those who care for them.

Elizabeth Graham is a PBN staff writer. Email her at Graham@PBN.com.  

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