Vancouver – Labour and birth information for each hospital in British Columbia is now available on a searchable website to expectant mothers, their families, the general public, and healthcare providers.
The information is being provided by Perinatal Services BC (PSBC), an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority, to help maternity care providers continue to improve care and support the best outcomes for mothers and babies. The information can also help women have informed conversations with their doctors, midwives, or nurse practitioners about their labour and delivery options.
PSBC collects comprehensive perinatal information through the BC Perinatal Data Registry, a database containing clinical information on all births collected from hospitals and registered midwives who attend births at home. PSBC selected five indicators that are:
- important to the health and well-being of mothers and babies;
- measurable; and
- based on solid evidence that supports the best approach to care.
- This is the first time the hospital-level data are being shared publicly.
- vaginal delivery for first-time mothers;
- repeat cesarean section before 39 weeks (early term);
- post-date induction before 41 weeks;
- exclusive use of intermittent auscultation (listening to fetal heart beats at specified intervals) during labour; and
- babies who were breastfed from birth to discharge.
For further context, the website provides definitions of the indicators and why they are important. In addition, hospitals that deliver similar numbers of babies each year are assigned to peer groups on the website, and each hospital’s rate is presented alongside the peer group rate and the provincial rate.
These data can help keep expectant mothers and their families better informed about the health services they receive and help them prepare for their birth experience. Women with questions or concerns are encouraged to discuss them with their doctors, midwives, or nurse practitioners.
Healthcare teams can use this information to continue to improve quality and safety within perinatal care across the province. Working together, Perinatal Services BC and regional health authorities strive to provide the best in perinatal care for women and their newborns across the province.
Having a baby is a momentous event in the life of a mother, her partner, and the entire family. British Columbia is a very safe place to give birth, in hospital or at home, providing a very high quality of care. That being said, these numbers identify areas for improvement and change—which BC’s healthcare system can use to improve care and outcomes for mothers and babies. This is an excellent example of the power of transparency can lead to better patient care for British Columbians.
We are pleased to be working in partnership with health authorities. By using best evidence and looking at the trends, PSBC supports health authorities and care providers in delivering the best care they can to women, newborns, and families. We can learn from one another, share best practices in maternity care, and identify areas for change or improvement. This is an exciting opportunity to make a difference in the lives of women and their families in BC by optimizing maternal and newborn health.
The women of British Columbia and their families are lucky to enjoy such a wide spectrum of maternity services throughout the province. Perinatal Services BC has collected data on performance of the maternity providers and reported it back to the units for some time, and this has been essential to maximizing the quality of care at all sites. Making this information available to the public is the logical expansion of this approach. It is important to recognize how differences between sites and the populations they serve will influence the indicators. Nevertheless, they provide an excellent method for patients to open a conversation about quality and expectations with their maternity providers.
This high-quality, region-specific public data allows BC's 200 midwives and other healthcare providers to provide accurate, up-to-date, and local information when discussing care options with women. Understanding how breastfeeding rates, births by cesarean section, and other perinatal indicators vary by region also empowers women to initiate these important discussions about their pregnancy, birth, and postpartum needs. We applaud Perinatal Services BC, regional health authorities, and the Government of BC in their work to improve healthcare services for women and families across the province.
Perinatal Services BC, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority, provides leadership, support, and coordination for the strategic planning of perinatal services in British Columbia in collaboration with regional health authorities and other key stakeholders. PSBC is the central source in the province for evidence-based perinatal information. For more information, visit www.perinatalservicesbc.ca.
The Provincial Health Services Authority plans, manages, and evaluates selected specialty and province-wide healthcare services across BC, working with the five geographic health authorities to deliver province-wide solutions that improve the health of British Columbians. For more information, visit www.phsa.ca.