May 6, 2020

The Obstetric Anesthesiology Division was designated as a Center of Excellence (COE) by the Society for Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology (SOAP). A Center of Excellence designation is for institutions and programs that demonstrate excellence in obstetric anesthesia care and to set a benchmark of superior care that adheres to evidence-based practices and national and international guidelines for maternal care.

According to “Center of Excellence for Anesthesia Care of Obstetric Patients” published in Anesthesia and Analgesia, maternal mortality is the sixth most common cause of death among women aged 20-34 years old in the United States. SOAP determined provision of optimal hospital care during labor and delivery is essential to reduce maternal morbidity and mortality which eventually led to the creation of the designation.

On SOAP’s COE application, the criteria for the designation covers personnel and staffing; equipment, protocols, and policies; cesarean delivery management; labor analgesia, recommendations and guidelines implementation; and quality assurance and patient follow-up.

This designation shows the department’s dedication to quality patient care and is also indicative of the Obstetrical Division’s commitment to interdisciplinary practice excellence,” said Anesthesiology Department Chair Warren Sandberg, MD, PhD. He is also confident the Obstetric Division can keep up with, and in many cases, lead the continually advancing quality and safety criteria set by SOAP.
 “This designation shows the department’s dedication to quality patient care,” said Anesthesiology Department Chair Warren Sandberg, MD, PhD. He said it is important for the Obstetric Division to keep up with the criteria set by SOAP.

Obstetric Anesthesiology Division Chief Jeanette Bauchat, MD, MS, said being designated a COE was a team effort between the obstetric anesthesiologists and included their multidisciplinary partners on labor and delivery. She said the division looked at where they were meeting criteria and where they could improve. “Faculty and CRNA’s took on a multitude of systems improvement and quality initiatives to ensure a solid application for COE,” she said.

She said the designation reflects the Obstetric Anesthesiology Division’s commitment to staying current on knowledge, skills and best practices and bringing them to Vanderbilt University. “Best practices sometimes get reported then lost in the literature. This designation is a good way to bridge that gap. It pushes institutions to implement best practices.”

Bauchat said being designated a COE is important because it shows patients that an institution is providing the highest quality of obstetric care. This quality care includes expertise of the anesthesia faculty, implementations of evidence-based practices within the obstetric anesthesiology division and working within the multidisciplinary team on labor and delivery to design safe practices and quality initiatives.

This designation needs to be renewed every four years. “There are ongoing, continued, and ever-changing practices and national guidelines and we intend to be at the leading edge of those on Vanderbilt’s labor and delivery unit,” Bauchat said.