USA TODAY Weekend Extra - - WEATHER - FIX THE MA­TER­NAL MOR­TAL­ITY PROB­LEM Emily Hamil­ton, M.D. Per­iGen

As a long­time ob­ste­tri­cian and clin­i­cal re­searcher with a spe­cial in­ter­est in ma­ter­nal mor­tal­ity, I be­lieve USA TO­DAY’s re­cent ar­ti­cle on ma­ter­nal deaths was spot on about sim­ple steps that can save lives — but there’s more to the story. The re­al­ity is that re­cent re­search from the Cen­ters for Disease Con­trol and Preven­tion found that 60 per­cent of these tragedies are pre­ventable, and most re­late back to de­layed recog­ni­tion and lack of ac­tion on warn­ing signs.

So­lu­tions are out there, and they don’t all re­quire po­lit­i­cal ma­neu­ver­ing. Hos­pi­tals should take ad­van­tage of emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies, such as ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence, that can help in­creas­ingly busy nurses cope with chal­lenges on the la­bor floor. In­tel­li­gent tools can counter the tem­po­rary lapses in judg­ment, wish­ful think­ing and de­layed recog­ni­tion of se­ri­ous med­i­cal is­sues that are in­evitable in a com­plex clin­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment with mul­ti­ple dis­trac­tions. Use them. And bod­ies such as the Cen­ters for Medi­care & Med­i­caid Ser­vices and The Joint Com­mis­sion, which ac­cred­its hos­pi­tals, need to do more to stim­u­late and in­cen­tivize health sys­tems to move be­yond the sta­tus quo stan­dards of care. Med­i­caid pays for half of births in the U.S.; qual­ity rat­ings and fi­nan­cial re­im­burse­ment are pow­er­ful levers in driv­ing change. Again, use them. Cary, N.C.

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