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The Tidelands Health Newsroom

Published on December 07, 2016

Tidelands Health OB-GYN Helps To Improve Care of Mothers And Newborns

A Tidelands Health OB-GYN is helping South Carolina health care organizations learn how they can improve the care of mothers and their newborns.

Dr. Christine Gerber, medical director of obstetrics at Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital, recently spoke at the 2016 South Carolina Birth Outcomes Initiative symposium. The symposium is an annual gathering of South Carolina health care professionals involved in the care of pregnant women and infants. It is part of an ongoing effort by the state Department of Health and Human Services to improve birth outcomes throughout the state. 

Dr. Gerber, a partner in Island Women’s Care, was part of a three-member panel that discussed how hospitals and other health care organizations can introduce quality assurance programs. They discussed the benefits of such programs to each speaker’s organization, and together they answered questions from participating audience members. 

“Health care is constantly evolving, so it’s crucial organizations routinely evaluate their practices to improve the delivery of care,” said Dr. Gerber, a longtime advocate for maternal and child health. “Our goal was to share our experiences implementing change in hopes it could help guide the efforts of others.” 

Tidelands Health is among the best health systems in the state for maternal care and childbirth, Dr. Gerber said, because of a variety of changes made in the last seven years. For example, the system has eliminated elective deliveries before 39 weeks of pregnancy and put together an exhaustive protocol to address the risk of severe post-delivery bleeding, a leading cause of death among mothers.

The commitment to quality care has led to a variety of awards and recognitions. For example, Tidelands Waccamaw and Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital have earned the prestigious Baby Friendly designation, an international award that recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer optimal care for mothers and their babies.

In addition, Carechex in its 2017 rankings rated Tidelands Waccamaw in the Top 10 percent nationally for patient safety in women’s health. The hospital also is certified by the Joint Commission as a childbirth center of excellence, the only center in South Carolina to earn the distinction.

The symposium presentation focused on who should be involved in driving improvements, how to effectively measure outcomes to determine whether changes are effective and what to do when they are not, Dr. Gerber said.

She was joined in discussing the topic by Dr. Julie Ross, a neonatology specialist with MUSC Health, and Elizabeth Kissinger, director of women and children’s services at Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System. 

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Tidelands Health is the largest health care provider in Georgetown, Horry and Williamsburg counties. With three hospitals and more than 50 outpatient locations that stretch from Andrews to North Myrtle Beach, Tidelands Health is helping people across the Tidelands region live better lives through better health.