Improving Patient Postpartum Show Rates Through Increased Education and Scheduling

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The postpartum period is a critical time that presents an opportunity to improve maternal health by assessing immediate pregnancy-related concerns such as physical recovery from birth, infant feeding, mood disorders, chronic disease management, contraception and birth spacing, and long-term health maintenance. Despite these benefits, postpartum care is mostly underutilized. There are risk factors for failure to attend the postpartum visit, including younger age, increased parity, minority race or ethnicity, lower household income, public or no insurance, and inadequate prenatal care. Most of these factors are non-modifiable and potentially interrelated. However, additional attention and efforts toward addressing modifiable factors can improve health outcomes and decrease health disparities.

The postpartum visit for most women without high-risk medical issues has traditionally been scheduled six weeks following delivery. However, for many, this is perceived as late for problems that arise earlier on, and the visits are poorly attended. An attempt to increase compliance and the timeliness of the visit is frequently discussed in the medical community. The benefits of increasing the number of patients scheduled and show rates would include earlier identification of maternal concerns and avoiding unscheduled care in the emergency department. This project focused on improving show rates for postpartum visits by better scheduling, early communication, and educating the staff and patients. The results showed improvements in scheduling and an initial trend toward increased postpartum visits; however, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic prevented the project outcomes from being fully realized.



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