Point32Health and Ariadne Labs Expand TeamBirth in Collaboration with Health Systems Across Massachusetts

October 2023|NewsPress Releases

Initiative works with health systems innovation center to improve maternal health care through stronger communication and shared decision-making

Canton, Mass. (October 4, 2023) — Point32Health, the parent company of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Tufts Health Plan, and Ariadne Labs are expanding TeamBirth, a clinically proven care process innovation, to additional provider groups throughout Massachusetts. The expansion follows a successful pilot of the program with UMass Memorial Medical Center. Ariadne Labs is a joint center for health systems innovation at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

“The statistics on maternal health outcomes in this country are well reported, and we must do all we can to improve health care for expectant mothers,” said Glenn Pomerantz, MD, JD, Point32Health chief medical officer. “Creating a more equitable health system is one of our top priorities, and developing programs focused on improving maternity care is integral to our overall strategy. Our ongoing work with Ariadne Labs allows us to address systemic inequities within the health care system, while also improving maternity care for all.”

Americans today are 50 percent more likely to die in childbirth than their own mothers, reflecting a continuously rising maternal mortality rate over a period of decades. These risks are consistently higher for black and native mothers, regardless of income or education. Communication failures between providers and patients are responsible for 80-90 percent of preventable injuries to women and babies during childbirth and are among the most frequently cited root causes in maternal mortality and morbidity reviews.1 TeamBirth improves safety, dignity and equity in childbirth by structuring the essential information that should be communicated during every labor assessment. The program enables communication between the mother, the family, and the clinical care team, which includes a live birth plan, storyboarding and birth plan “huddles” between the clinical team throughout labor; and a pair of decision-making tools aimed at reducing cesarean deliveries.

“All people deserve equitable access to a safe, dignified birth experience,” said Amber Weiseth, DNP, MSN, RNC-OB, the Director of Ariadne Labs’ Delivery Decisions Initiative. “We are thankful for the opportunity to collaborate with Point32Health, Perinatal-Neonatal Quality Improvement Collaborative of Massachusetts, Betsy Lehman Center, and our dedicated hospital partners to bring TeamBirth to more patients across Massachusetts.”

Ninety-three percent of clinicians surveyed in Ariadne’s clinical trial believed TeamBirth improves care, and 87 percent of patients surveyed had the role they wanted in decisions about their labor. The more TeamBirth conversations that took place during labor, the more likely patients were to report a positive experience of care, including having the role they wanted, understanding conversations with their team, and believing their preferences made a difference in their care.2

The new health systems participating in the expansion include:

  • Baystate Franklin Medical Center (The Birthplace, Greenfield)
  • Boston Medical Center, Boston
  • Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston
  • Cape Cod Hospital, Hyannis
  • Fairview Hospital, Great Barrington
  • Mercy Medical Center, Springfield
  • Sturdy Health | Sturdy Memorial Hospital, Attleboro
  • Saint Vincent Hospital, Worcester
  • Tufts Medical Center, Boston

“The clinicians at Brigham and Women’s Hospital who care for birthing persons are thankful that Point32Health supported our implementation of TeamBirth. We also are deeply appreciative of the leadership and support of the Ariadne Labs for expertly guiding its implementation,” said Robert L. Barbieri, MD, interim chief of obstetrics at Brigham & Women’s Hospital. “At the Brigham, TeamBirth has significantly increased the perception of our birthing patients that their symptoms, lived experiences and preferences are elicited, recognized and respected by our clinicians. It is our belief that the structured TeamBirth huddle elevates the voice of the birthing person, encouraging and empowering patients to speak-up, share their goals and voice their concerns. By improving communication among all the members of the birth team, including the patient, support persons, labor nurse and physician/midwife, TeamBirth improves birth outcomes and patient-reported satisfaction with their care. I highly recommend that all birth centers consider implementing TeamBirth.”

About Point32Health
Point32Health is a leading health and wellbeing organization, delivering a better health care experience to our members and the communities we serve.  One of the top twenty health plans in the United States, Point32Health builds on the quality of our founding organizations, Tufts Health Plan and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care.

At Point32Health, we believe that everyone should have equitable access to affordable, high-quality health care, regardless of their age, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, orientation, gender identity or ability.  We offer a diverse range of health plans that help improve the health and wellness of the 2 million members we serve.  Every day, we work to deliver on our purpose of guiding and empowering healthier lives for everyone.

We are proud that our Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Commercial Combined HMO and POS plans in Massachusetts and Maine, our Exchange HMO plans in Massachusetts and Maine, as well as Tufts Health Plan’s Medicaid and Exchange HMO plans, have received full Health Equity Accreditation from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).3 And for the eighth straight year, our Tufts Medicare Preferred HMO plan received a 5-star rating from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the highest rating possible.4

About Ariadne Labs
Ariadne Labs is a joint center for health systems innovation at Brigham & Women’s Hospital and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. With a mission to save lives and reduce suffering, our vision is that health systems equitably deliver the best possible care for every patient, everywhere, every time. We use human centered design, health systems implementation science, public health expertise, and frontline clinical care experience to design, test and spread scalable systems-level solutions to some of health care’s biggest problems. From developing checklists and conversation guides to fostering international collaborations and establishing global standards of measurement, our work has been accessed in more than 165 countries, touching hundreds of millions of lives. Visit ariadnelabs.org to learn more and covid19.ariadnelabs.org to learn about our response to COVID-19.

1 Leonard M, Graham S, Bonacum D. The human factor: the critical importance of effective teamwork and communication in providing safe care. Qual Saf Health Care. 2004; 13(Suppl 1): i85- i90. doi:10.1136/qhc.13.suppl_1.i85

Lippke S, Wienert J, Keller FM, et al. Communication and patient safety in gynecology and obstetrics – study protocol of an intervention study. BMC Health Serv Res. 2019; 19(1): 908. doi:10.1186/s12913-019-4579-y

Human factors analysis in patient safety systems. Joint Commission Resources. https://store.jcrinc.com/human-factors-analysis-in-patient-safety-systems/

2 Weiseth, Plough, A., Aggarwal, R., Galvin, G., Rucker, A., Henrich, N., Miller, K., Subramanian, L., Hawrusik, R., Berry, W., Gullo, S., Spigel, L., Dever, K., Loveless, D., Graham, K., Paek, B., & Shah, N. T. (2022). Improving communication and teamwork during labor: A feasibility, acceptability, and safety study. Birth (Berkeley, Calif.). https://doi.org/10.1111/birt.12630

3 NCQA’s Health Equity Accreditation program

4 Every year, Medicare evaluates plans based on a 5-Star rating system. Star Ratings are calculated each year and may change from one year to the next. For more information on plan ratings, go to www.medicare.gov. Tufts Medicare Preferred HMO plans received 5 out of 5 stars for contract years