Optimal maternal and neonatal outcomes and associated hospital characteristics

Katherine H. Campbell, Jessica L. Illuzzi, Henry C. Lee, Haiqun Lin, Heather S. Lipkind, Lisbet S. Lundsberg, Christian M. Pettker, Xiao Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: This study aims to examine hospital variation in both maternal and neonatal morbidities and identify institutional characteristics associated with hospital performance in a combined measure of maternal and neonatal outcomes. Methods: Using the California Linked Birth File containing data from birth certificate and hospital discharge records, we identified 1 322 713 term births delivered at 248 hospitals during 2010-2012. For each hospital, a risk-standardized rate of severe maternal morbidities and a risk-standardized rate of severe newborn morbidities were calculated after adjusting for patient clinical risk factors. Hospitals were ranked based on combined information on their maternal and newborn morbidity rates. Results: Risk-standardized severe maternal and severe newborn morbidity rates varied substantially across hospitals (10th to 90th percentile range = 67.5-148.2 and 141.8-508.0 per 10 000 term births, respectively), although there was no significant association between the two (P = 0.15). Government hospitals (non-Federal) were more likely than other hospitals to be in worse rank quartiles (P value for trend = 0.004), whereas larger volume was associated with better rank among hospitals in the first three quartiles (P = 0.004). The most prevalent morbidities that differed progressively across hospital rank quartiles were severe hemorrhage, disseminated intravascular coagulation, and heart failure during procedure/surgery for mothers, and severe infection, respiratory complication, and shock/resuscitation for neonates. Conclusions: Hospitals with low maternal morbidity rates may not have low neonatal morbidity rates and vice versa, highlighting the importance of assessing joint maternal-newborn outcomes in order to fully characterize a hospital's obstetrical performance. Hospitals with smaller volume and government ownership tend to have less desirable outcomes and warrant additional attention in future quality improvement efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)289-299
Number of pages11
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


  • childbirth
  • hospital variation
  • morbidity
  • obstetric
  • quality and safety


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