TeamBirth initiative launches at Swedish First Hill

 
On July 27,  Providence Swedish’s First Hill Campus launched TeamBirth, an initiative designed to enhance the birthing experience and improve outcomes for people giving birth and their babies. First Hill is Team Birth’s inaugural site among Swedish hospitals.
 
TeamBirth, a national program which began in Boston, focuses on collective communication, so all people involved, including birthing people, their support person, and their care team, share the same understanding throughout the process. TeamBirth provides laboring people with an even safer, more dignified childbirth experience.
 
“Research tells us that effective communication between a care team and their patients is key to safe childbirth,” said Val Higginbotham, Providence's women’s and children’s service line director. “We have always worked to communicate well with our patients, but we have quickly learned how effective this model can be to improve both communication and birth outcomes.”
 
A central component of the TeamBirth model is a shared whiteboard located in all labor and delivery rooms that outlines care plans and progress for the patient and the baby. The care team and patient complete the whiteboard together and update it regularly. Some examples of elements listed on the whiteboard include whether a patient wants an epidural, if the patient plans to breastfeed, and what time the next team huddle will be.
 
The full care team and the patient meet frequently throughout labor and delivery to make sure everyone is aware of the patient’s preferences, symptoms, and experiences and to set clear expectations.
 
Swedish caregivers at July launch of the TeamBirth initiative at our First Hill campus.  
“Our plan is for TeamBirth to go system wide. We are flipping the whole experience,” says Carol Wissner, Director of Women’s and Children’s Services at Swedish. “We start with the patient and instead of being reactive, we are proactive, and the patient is at the center of what we do.
 
"TeamBirth also aligns with the work of our Justice Unity Support Trust (JUST) Birth Network and our goals of reducing racial disparities among birthing parents,” shared Dale Reisner, M.D., medial director of OBGYN quality and safety at Swedish. 
 
The JUST Birth Network is a program designed to provide an umbrella of services for Black, African American and Native patients. Through the JUST Birth Network, patients will be offered doulas for support during childbirth and postpartum as well as on-call services and access to education that is culturally congruent from Black educators through the Birth and Family Education program. The team is also currently working with community partners to develop a list of vetted resources and services for families and developing a more equitable approach for women’s health providers.
 
The TeamBirth model was developed by Ariadne Labs and rigorously tested as part of its Delivery Decisions Initiative, a research and social impact program focused on transforming childbirth care around the world. TeamBirth has been implemented in more than 28 hospitals around the country. 
 
Among the broader Providence health care system, The Birth Place at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center and Holy Family Hospital Family Maternity Center in Spokane are also among the Providence pilot sites for this program. Holy Family Hospital Family Maternity Center was the first hospital in Spokane to adopt this new method when it launched in May. Swedish First Hill is proud to be home to this exciting new initiative that supports our mission of keeping our patients and their families at the center of everything we do.
 
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Additional resources

Celebrating, supporting all mothers’ breastfeeding journeys 

New OBGYN Residency Will Boost Maternity Care Access.

Pregnancy and COVID-19 vaccination

 

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About the Author

There's a reason why more babies are born at Swedish every year than any other health system in western Washington - bringing babies into this world is our mission. The Swedish Pregnancy & Childbirth Team is committed to giving you relevant and actionable insights on how to care for yourself and your child as you navigate the trimesters of your pregnancy.

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