The Leapfrog Group recently released its 2018 Maternity Care Report in partnership with Castlight Health. Highlights are below. There was little to no improvement in regard to episiotomy and C-Section rates, but hospitals decreased their elective delivery rates and more than 84 percent are now performing well on maternity process of care measures.
The average rate of episiotomies declined from 9.6 percent in 2016 to 7.8 percent in 2017, their lowest rate since Leapfrog began collecting data and publicly reporting on this metric. Nonetheless, the use of these usually unnecessary incisions remains well above Leapfrog's standard, determined by its Maternity Care Expert Panel, of 5 percent or less.
Two in five reporting hospitals fully met Leapfrog's standard for NTSV C-sections of 23.9 percent or less, but this represents no improvement, and instead a slight decline in performance since the 2016 Leapfrog Hospital Survey.
For episiotomies and C-sections, survey data shows significant variation between hospitals, even in the same geographic region.
Nearly four of five hospitals handling high-risk deliveries lack the proper resources and expertise to do so.
Only 22.1 percent of hospitals that reported delivering very-low birth weight babies fully met standards, essentially unchanged from the 23 percent that did so in 2016.
The rate of early elective deliveries has continued declining and is now down to 1.6 percent among reporting hospitals, with 91.4 percent of hospitals fully meeting Leapfrog's standard of 5 percent or lower. By contrast, when Leapfrog began publicly reporting on this measure by hospital in 2010 the average rate was 17 percent.
Hospitals are also performing well on maternity process of care measures, with 84.0 percent of hospitals reporting to the 2017 Survey fully meeting Leapfrog's standard.