Implementation of and Barriers to Optimizing Postpartum Care by Resident and Attending Physicians

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Ochsner Journal


Background: The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists released Committee Opinion No. 736: Optimizing Postpartum Care (CO No. 736) to address severe maternal morbidity and mortality in the United States by outlining recommendations for care in the critical time following birth. This study aimed to evaluate implementation of and barriers to the recommendations of CO No. 736 among obstetricians in south Louisiana. Methods: A survey to general obstetric providers assessed opinions on the CO No. 736 recommendations, implementation of these recommendations, and barriers to implementation. Fisher exact test was used to compare distributions between resident and attending groups. Qualitative, free-text responses about barriers to implementation were organized by common themes and categorized into systemic and patient factors. Results: Of 124 survey responses, 59.7% of respondents reported that they had read CO No. 736. Of the respondents who had read the document, 86.5% believed it was important to implement these recommendations, but only 50.0% had established the recommendations in their practices. Overall, fewer than half (46.8%) of respondents reported actively implementing the recommendation to make contact with postpartum patients at 3 weeks or sooner, but 86.3% reported having comprehensive clinic visits within 12 weeks of delivery. Commonly identified systemic barriers to implementation included the 3-week contact not being common practice, overbooked schedules, and unclear provider expectations. Commonly identified patient factor barriers to implementation included childcare or transportation and no-shows at postpartum appointments. Conclusion: Both resident and attending obstetricians in South Louisiana believe that the CO No. 736 recommendations are important but reported lacking the ability to implement them into clinical practice.

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