St. Luke's University Health Network


    • St Lukes Receives 2012 HAP Award for Patient Safety

St Lukes Receives 2012 HAP Award for Patient Safety

Hospital Association of Pennsylvania Recognizes and Awards St. Luke's University Health Network with a 2012 HAP Award for Patient Safety

Project: Rapid Cycle Reduction of Obstetric “Elective” Delivery Driven by Team Concepts and a Culture of Safety

Bethlehem, PA (7/19/2012) - Research demonstrates that early-term, non-medically necessary deliveries result in higher neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) admissions and increased health complications for babies. To ensure that every infant can reach his or her highest potential for health, the American Hospital Association (AHA) Board of Trustees recently adopted a formal position supporting policies to eliminate early-term, non-medically necessary deliveries prior to 39 weeks gestation. In addition, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that reducing early elective deliveries will be a high priority.

HAP, through its Pennsylvania Hospital Engagement Network (PA-HEN) contract, is working to prevent early elective, non-medically indicated deliveries, along with safe administration of oxytocin and the prompt recognition and treatment of post-partum hemorrhage. The “Obstetrical Adverse Event (OAE) Project,” which is managed by the Health Care Improvement Foundation (HCIF), will seek to reduce early-term, non-medically necessary deliveries to less than 5 percent. In addition, HAP is working with its Committee on Quality and Care Management on this quality improvement priority and will provide members with additional education and information in the coming months.

Major Improvements in Obstetric Safety

Efforts by St. Luke's University Hospital in Bethlehem and St. Luke's Hospital - Allentown Campus, have led to a 43 percent reduction in non-medically indicated elective deliveries before 39 weeks gestation. The efforts won the organization a 2012 HAP Achievement Award.

Despite major improvements in obstetric safety and the adoption of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) induction bundles, St. Luke's analysis of its early elective delivery rate in 2010 revealed a rate of 17 percent, which exceeded the national goal of less than 5 percent.

St. Luke's conducted an analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats; a literature review; and case review to develop an action plan based on their findings. In addition to focusing on eliminating non-medically indicated elective deliveries before 39 weeks gestation, St. Luke’s also opted to review neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) admissions from this early elective delivery population to examine the value equation of this improvement.

During the past 24 months, St. Luke's reduced the rate of elective deliveries from 17 percent to a current rate of 1.14 percent. In that same period of time, hospital charges from NICU admissions for those elective (37 and 0/7 and 38 6/7 weeks) babies specifically have been reduced from $68,000 to $38,822 annualized for comparison.

Additional information on St. Luke's efforts is available on the HAP web site.


Denise Rader
Director, Media Relations