Mater Mothers' gets the scoop on what matters most to mums
Quality-of-life data collected from women before and after childbirth at Mater Mothers’ Hospital in Queensland is helping the healthcare provider advance towards value-based maternity care.
Following a research project by Queensland University of Technology health economist Dr Elizabeth Martin, Mater Mothers’ now asks all women to answer a set of 10 questions following antenatal services and again following their discharge postpartum.
The questions assess each woman’s physical and mental health, as well as their quality of life, relationships, fatigue and ability to carry out daily tasks.
An advocate of value-based healthcare, Dr Martin has been conducting an Advanced Queensland Industry Research Fellowship at Mater since January 2020, the first phase of which involved extensive qualitative research interviews with new mothers across Queensland to understand and analyse their healthcare experiences.
“Healthcare providers measure things like infections, blood loss and caesareans — but we also need to focus on quality-of-life outcomes that matter to mothers,” Dr Martin said.
“My research showed that the outcomes that matter most to women were things like bonding with their baby, their mental health, incontinence and breastfeeding success.
“Mater Mothers’ is the first hospital in Australia to universally and systematically collect this type of data in maternity,” Dr Martin said. “It shows that Mater is a national leader in caring about what matters most to its consumers.”
Dr Martin is hopeful that the new data stream will help Mater base future maternity services around the principles of value-based healthcare.
“Value-based healthcare ensures that services focus on the outcomes that matter most to the patient,” Dr Martin said. “By comparing patient-reported outcomes with the total financial costs of care, health providers can determine the real value of the care they provide and realign services accordingly.
“There has been a lot of talk in Australia about the need to adopt value-based healthcare, but limited widespread action, which is why my research here at Mater is so exciting.
“The concept is not simply about driving efficiencies in health care; it’s about making informed decisions about where funds should go and delivering the outcomes that matter most to consumers.”
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