Gaging the Readiness of New Perinatal Safety Standards of Nurses | HealthStream

April 1, 2021
April 1, 2021

This article excerpts a HealthStream article, “The Joint Commission’s New Standards for Perinatal Safety: HealthStream Surveys Organizations About Their Readiness,” by Linda Zimmer, MSN, RN, Product Manager, Quality & Risk, HealthStream.

The United States has a serious problem with maternal healthcare and outcomes; currently we rank 55th among industrialized nations in terms of maternal mortality. To begin to implement the significant measures necessary to improve this poor ranking and decrease the frequency of maternal death and morbidity, The Joint Commission has introduced two new Perinatal Safety standards that will now take effect January 1, 2021. Having originally been scheduled for July 1, 2020, the standards implementation deadline was extended six months as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The privileging standards specifically address measures that all healthcare organizations should take to address complications that occur with alarming frequency in pregnant and delivering women—maternal hemorrhage and severe hypertension/preeclampsia.

HealthStream Surveyed Healthcare Leaders about Organizational Preparedness for These New Perinatal Safety Standards

HealthStream surveyed nearly 150 leaders in nursing and healthcare education about the New Perinatal Care Standards, to gain insight about whether they were ready for Joint Commission surveyors who’d be looking for evidence of their implementation. We also wanted their honest opinion about whether they thought the standards would improve perinatal care and maternal healthcare outcomes.


We asked respondents to rate the following statement from 1 (“Strongly Disagree”) to 10 (“Strongly Agree”): “CMS’s new elements of performance for maternal safety will improve maternal outcomes in our organization.” At 8.03, the average indicates a preponderance of opinion that the standards are helpful.


At the time of the survey, the deadline for implementation still had not been delayed by six months to accommodate the demands of the Covid-19 Pandemic. We asked respondents to rate the following statement from 1 (“Strongly Disagree”) to 10 (“Strongly Agree”): “Our organization will be ready to implement the Joint Commission’s new elements of performance for maternal safety by the deadline of July 1, 2020.” With an average score of 7.58, it was clear that most participants felt that their organizations would be ready to implement the standards. 


Respondents were asked about the implementation status for each of the individual elements of performance. They were asked to respond, “Fully implemented it,” “Partially implemented it,” or “Not yet begun to implement it” for each of the 16 elements.

The area least likely to be fully implemented was “Reviewing severe hypertension/preeclampsia cases that meet criteria established by the hospital to evaluate the effectiveness of the care, treatment, and services provided to the patient during the event” with only 41%.

Clearly, there’s a significant amount of work yet to be done by U.S. hospitals and other healthcare providers to be ready for these new Joint Commission standards. The extension of this deadline may allow considerably more time for healthcare organizations to implement extra training programs and other measures to fulfill these requirements.

Download the full article to learn how healthcare organizations responded to the survey and to assess your own progress on meeting new maternal safety standards compared to other U.S. organizations.

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