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Obstetric Safety and Quality

Pettker, Christian M. MD; Grobman, William A. MD, MBA

doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000000918
Contents: Clinical Expert Series
Expert Discussion
Spanish Translation

Obstetric safety and quality is an emerging and important topic not only as a result of the pressures of patient and regulatory expectations, but also because of the genuine interest of caregivers to reduce harm, improve outcomes, and optimize care. Although each seeks to improve care by using scientific approaches beyond human physiology and pathophysiology, patient safety methodologies seek to avoid preventable adverse events, whereas health care quality projects aim to achieve the best possible outcomes. It is well-documented that an increasingly complex medical system controlled by human workers is a circumstance subject to recurrent failure. A safety culture encourages a proactive approach to mitigate failure before, during, and after it occurs. This article highlights the key concepts in health care safety and quality and reviews the background of the quality improvement sciences with particular emphasis on obstetric outcomes and quality measures.

The science of quality improvement and safety implementation may reduce adverse outcomes in obstetric practice.Supplemental Digital Content is Available in the Text.

Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut; and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois.

Corresponding author: Christian M. Pettker, MD, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, Yale School of Medicine, 333 Cedar Street, PO Box 208063, New Haven, CT 06520-8063; e-mail:

Continuing medical education for this article is available at

Financial Disclosure The authors did not report any potential conflicts of interest.

© 2015 by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.