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What do YOU think is important?

Amy Romano of Science & Sensibility is in great demand on the Conference circuit this year and, delightfully, is asking for input regarding her sessions. While all the questions are relevant and if I have time, I’ll be answering them, I have already addressed the first conference she’ll be attending in a few days. Besides sharing my concerns, I thought it’d be a nice jumping off point to hear what you all are thinking.

Amy will be attending the Health 2.0 Goes to Washington event on June 7. Here are the questions and my answers:

I answer (seemingly, in broken English!):

1. What do you think are the most innovative ways women are using the internet or social media to have healthier, safer, and more satisfying childbearing experiences?

-I think we know that FB (Facebook) is a really important way for women who have the same mindset to keep together, but I don’t think it is the main way women actually meet and learn about different ideas regarding birth. I think Google is the main path towards exploring options. (Other Search Engines are probably involved, too, but Google is the SE I use.)

I believe women look for help on the Net in the middle of the night after they’ve had a difficult/traumatic birth – wouldn’t it be nice to have a site that all questions that say, “I’m terrified because of my birth experience” or “I can’t stop thinking about my birth” or “I hate my doctor, can I cut his testicles off?” went to? I don’t think the Net has matured enough for such a website, but it’s a nice dream.

 2. What are the types and sources of maternity care data that you would most like to see become available?

-Cesarean Rates: by Doctor/CNM/CPM/hospital/birth center/homebirth/County

Cesarean Rates by: Primary/TOL/Repeat/Maternal Request for Primary/Maternal Request after Previous Vaginal Birth

Cesarean Rates: by Age/Education/Income

Cesarean Incision Infection Rates up to 1 year postpartum… by Woman/OB/Hospital

Genital Surgeries done within 1 year postpartum (note if after Vaginal Birth or Cesarean)

Antibiotics women take for a birth-related infection up to one year postpartum (Vaginal Birth/Cesarean)

Hospitalization Rates for Psych Disorder within 1 year postpartum (Note Vaginal Birth or Cesarean)

I’m sure I could think of more if I kept going.

3. What kind of data do you think should be documented in electronic health records during pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum and newborn period? Think outside the box.

-See above + what is hard about asking what we’d like would require even more charting by the nursing staff, taking even more personal care time away from the women. What I would like us to do is find a way to utilize the information there already is in charting and use it to our advantage. I would like to see classes/blog posts/articles about what charts are saying inside them. (I think I’ll start one now!) No discussion of charting can be complete without noting that charting is subjective. Numbers are not, but charting is. It’s vital for women to know that just because they read something in the chart doesn’t mean it is true.

4. What do you think would be the most important benefits (and for that matter, risks or drawbacks) of having complete, unhindered, timely access to your maternity care records?

-I have access to my chart now through Kaiser HMO and it has transformed my feelings of empowerment. My records are no longer in that Too-Holy-For-You-To-See place. By making medical records immediately accessible to each person/woman, our healthcare takes on an entirely new persona. Doctors/RNs/CNMs/CPMs no longer only answer to each other or a lawyer, but also to the client/patient; what is written will be seen. Having someone looking over your shoulder changes the way you speak/act/respond. I also believe it becomes a tangible mirror for what the patient/client is doing as far as self-care goes. Hearing test results is very different than seeing them, especially when you can see them serially.  

5. What ongoing or forthcoming projects in the maternity care world could use the insights or funds of outside (non-birth-enthusiast) social innovators?

-I have no idea. (I barely understand the question, but don't tell anyone.)

Okay, folks… there are two other Conferences Amy’s heading to this summer, so share your thoughts and ideas with her.