Indiana University School of Medicine researchers released a study earlier this week discussing inconsistencies in patient and doctor communication. The study compared physician counseling sessions in cases of babies born prematurely at only 22 to 25 weeks. Analyzing the difference in counsel between obstetricians and neonatologists, the researchers found numerical inconsistencies and conflicting terminology, according to a recent IU press release. The report states that better and more standardized communication is needed between pregnant patients and counseling physicians. The report also relates to the greater issue of infant mortality in Indiana. Study author Dr. Tucker Edmonds said the research does not suggest that infant mortality rates are increased by poor communication, but better communication could improve overall quality of care for pregnant women.
Dr. Edmonds also has an interest in overall public health and improving the many factors, including education and communication, that could lead to lowered infant mortality rates.
National health rankings from 2011 place Indiana as the 45th for the worst infant mortality rate in the country. Infant mortality rates refer to the number of infant deaths per thousand.
In response to the State’s relatively high infant mortality rates, the Indiana State Department of Health launched an annual Labor of Love summit. Last week the department hosted its second Labor of Love summit at the Indiana Convention Center, bringing together health professionals, providers and community members for a discussion on combating infant mortality. Infant mortality rates serve as an indicator of health status. The Indiana State Department of health lists birth defects, post-birth injuries and maternal complications as top reasons for infant mortality. Indiana also has the 20th highest national rate of unintended and teen pregnancies, according to a 2011 report from the US Department of Health and Human Services.