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Banner Health earns Performance Excellence Award

Banner Health’s pioneering clinical work to reduce the elective delivery of babies has been recognized with a Showcase in Excellence Award as part of the Arizona Performance Excellence Award Program sponsored by the Arizona Quality Alliance (AQA).

Banner Health’s entry, “Reducing Elective Deliveries Less than 39 Weeks,” was recognized for specific process excellence that demonstrates innovation, cutting-edge approach, excellence in comparison to competitors or peers, or overall exceptional performance.

This improvement work has been guided by the leaders of Banner Health’s OB Clinical Performance Group who implemented the clinical practice discouraging elective deliveries under 39 weeks.

Since the practice was put in place some 18 months ago, Banner Health has reduced the overall number of deliveries less than 39 weeks by 10 percent or 3,000 babies a year. Before the work began, deliveries less than 39 weeks were approximately 34 percent of total deliveries and have now decreased to 24 percent.

The Banner Health initiative, supported by March of Dimes and other respected health care organizations, applies to the 30,000 deliveries in the 19 Banner hospitals that provide obstetrical care. A full-term pregnancy is more than the perceived nine months. It is closer to 10 months, or more specifically 39-40 weeks. Ongoing research and national studies have identified specific health advantages for babies who are born after 39 weeks gestation. In addition, eliminating elective deliveries before 39 weeks is supported by American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) and The Joint Commission.

The annual Performance Excellence Award Program recognizes organizations for excellence in quality, performance and outcomes. The program, modeled after the Malcolm Baldrige Award criteria, provides not only an opportunity for recognition, but also valuable feedback on where an organization is positioned on the quality continuum.

Awards will be presented on Feb. 5, 2013 at the Chaparral Suites Resort.