An evaluation tool to measure pregnancy outcomes and quality improvement interventions at Northern Cheyenne Service Unit
Tallbull, Cheyenne Rose
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Quality Improvement projects are not always evaluated for their effectiveness after they are implemented. This professional project was to address this shortcoming by developing an evaluation strategy on the Healthy Mother Healthy Tribe (HMHT) project which aims at improving pregnancy outcomes for Northern Cheyenne women and their babies. The Montana State Birth Certificate Data indicate that the percentage of Montana Native American Women entering prenatal care after the first trimester was 56.4% compared to Montana Caucasian Women at 24.2%. While early and regular prenatal care are crucial to have healthier babies, numerous difficulties to access prenatal care and the impact of illicit drug use during pregnancy increased the number of precipitous deliveries at the emergency room in the Northern Cheyenne Service Unit (NCSU). The NCSU was chosen as a pilot test site to overcome these barriers; the HMHT project started. Posavac's program evaluation theory, in particular examining the processes of the intervention and how the intermediate outcomes lead to the desired outcome, was used to guide this project. After process-mapping prenatal care and developing a gap analysis, the NCSU implemented the following interventions: policy update, practice changes in drug screening and drug testing, updating electronic prenatal records, education and contracting for a prenatal case manager. Then, two types of evaluation processes were compared in this project. One was a conventional, practical strategy which was used for the Joint Commission's Evidence of Standards Compliance Report as an accreditation survey follow-up. Another was theoretically developed, based on a logic model, for this project to measure the effectiveness and improve evaluation consistency. In comparison, the conventional strategy was action oriented to ensure that compliance is sustainable for going forward. On the other hand, the developed logic model showed relationships and had a focus on measurable outcomes. Unfortunately, implementation of the logic model was not possible due to a change of the work site and time limitation. The effectiveness of the HMHT interventions would be important information in order to optimize resources for the organization and determine sustainability of the project.