Can differences in obstetric outcomes be explained by differences in the care provided? the MFMU Network APEX study

William A. Grobman, Jennifer L. Bailit, Madeline Murguia Rice, Ronald J. Wapner, Michael W. Varner, John M. Thorp, Kenneth J. Leveno, Steve N. Caritis, Jay D. Iams, Alan T. Tita, George Saade, Yoram Sorokin, Dwight J. Rouse, Jorge E. Tolosa, J. Peter Van Dorsten

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Objective The purpose of this study was to determine whether hospital differences in the frequency of adverse obstetric outcomes are related to differences in care. Study Design The Assessment of Perinatal EXcellence cohort comprises 115,502 women and their neonates who were born in 25 hospitals in the United States between March 2008 and February 2011. Hierarchical logistic regression was used to quantify the amount of variation in postpartum hemorrhage, peripartum infection, severe perineal laceration, and a composite adverse neonatal outcome among hospitals that is explained by differences in patient characteristics, hospital characteristics, and obstetric care provided. Results The study included 115,502 women. For most outcomes, 20-40% of hospital differences in outcomes were related to differences in patient populations. After adjusting for patient-, provider-, and hospital-level factors, multiple care processes were associated with the predefined adverse outcomes; however, these care processes did not explain significant variation in the frequency of adverse outcomes among hospitals. Ultimately, 50-100% of the interhospital variation in outcomes was unexplained. Conclusion Hospital differences in the frequency of adverse obstetric outcomes could not be explained by differences in frequency of types of care provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014



  • obstetrics
  • quality care
  • quality measures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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