Center On Health Outcomes and Quality Measures Rate of Hospitalizations
have concluded that nearly nine percent of women are hospitalized during
their pregnancy with the majority of hospitalizations more common among
younger women, women with multiple gestations, and women in the Northeastern
United States. The findings will be published in the July 1 issue of
Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Researchers at the Emory
Center on Health Outcomes and Quality, formerly the USQA Center for
Health Care Research (TM), analyzed data from a national managed care
organization using information gathered from 46,179 pregnant women who
had a live birth or pregnancy loss. Overall, of this data sample 8.7
percent of the women were hospitalized during their pregnancy.
The study showed the primary
causes for hospitalizations to be hypertension, hyperemesis (nausea),
premature rupture of membranes, and preterm labor. Costs for the hospitalizations
for the managed care enrollees analyzed in the study soared at over
Julie A. Gazmararian, Ph.D.,
Associate Research Professor, Rollins School of Public Health, Department
of Health Policy and Management, was lead investigator for the study.
She and her colleagues suggested a number of methods to help reduce
the occurrence of pregnancy-related hospitalizations. "Certain conditions,
such as hypertension, may be treated more effectively in an outpatient
setting," Dr. Gazmararian says. "The women are often hospitalized because
people are more cautious because of their pregnant state."
Dr. Gazmararian also urges
expanded patient education, an area, she says that has a clear need
for more studies. "If high risk patients are educated more on certain
warning signs and certain conditions, they can prevent hospitalization."
The team of researchers recommends
improved screenings and more targeted provider and patient monitoring
for at risk groups to reduce the occurrence of hospitalizations prior
"Further study of antenatal
hospitalizations may identify specific reasons for these hospitalizations,
determine whether they can be prevented, and ultimately meet our goal
of decreasing maternal and fetal morbidity," Dr. Gazmararian concluded.
The study is the first of
its kind to use data from a large national managed care population to
monitor inpatient care received by women during their pregnancies. Consequently,
the study does not include uninsured and other vulnerable populations.
The study was funded in part by Aetna. The opinions expressed and conclusions
reached are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent
those of Aetna.
In November 2001, the USQA
Center for Health Care Research (TM), a division of U.S. Quality Algorithms,
Inc., the health informatics subsidiary of Aetna Inc., moved to Emory
where it became the cornerstorne of the Emory Center of Health Outcomes
The Emory Center on Health
Outcomes and Quality, a multi-school, multi-disciplinary group within
The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center, was created to conduct
outcomes-based research that includes assessing and improving methods
for measuring quality of care and designing interventions to improve
health outcomes. In addition to research, the Center focuses on education
by offering a long-distance Master of Public Health degree in outcomes
research. It works with consumers, physicians and insurers to evaluate
and implement new approaches for improving quality of care.