HIMSS Supports White House Blueprint for Addressing the Maternal Health Crisis

Doctor checking pregnant woman with stethoscope

HIMSS supports the goals outlined in the Biden-Harris Administration’s recently released Blueprint for Addressing the Maternal Health Crisis, a whole-of-government approach to combatting maternal mortality and morbidity. 

HIMSS praises the strides this approach makes toward improving maternal mortality outcomes, which aligns with HIMSS’s vision to realize the full health potential of every human, everywhere.

The blueprint includes 50 commitments from more than a dozen federal agencies aimed at combatting maternal mortality and morbidity, ending maternal health disparities and improving the overall experience of pregnancy, birth and postpartum for people across the country. 

“Improving maternal health and reducing mortality rates is a top priority for HIMSS, and we applaud the Administration’s Blueprint for Addressing the Maternal Health Crisis,” said Tom Leary, Senior Vice President and Head of Government Relations at HIMSS. “The maternal mortality crisis in the United States is unacceptable, and HIMSS appreciates the efforts being implemented to improve maternal health outcomes. 

“Modernizing how we collect and share maternal health data will be instrumental in advancing health equity and addressing disparities,” Leary added, “so we are pleased to see improving data standards, quality and collection prioritized throughout the blueprint. HIMSS looks forward to future opportunities to collaborate in this space and build upon the work we have been doing.” 

The blueprint outlines specific actions the federal government will take to improve maternal health that are underpinned by a continual focus on advancing equity. The actions are centered around five key goals:

  • Goal 1: Increase Access to and Coverage of Comprehensive High-Quality Maternal Health Services, Including Behavioral Health Services
  • Goal 2: Ensure Those Giving Birth are Heard and are Decision makers in Accountable Systems of Care
  • Goal 3: Advance Data Collection, Standardization, Harmonization, Transparency, and Research
  • Goal 4: Expand and Diversify the Perinatal Workforce
  • Goal 5: Strengthen Economic and Social Supports for People Before, During, and After Pregnancy 

The blueprint highlights the critical role that data and health information will need to play.

Goal 2 calls for greater patient engagement by empowering women to get automated access to their electronic prenatal, birth and postpartum health records. It also bolsters the voice of communities of color in Maternal Mortality Review Committees (MMRCs) to better understand pregnancy-related deaths. 

Goal 3 calls for improving data collection in states, hospitals, health centers and insurance programs to support better surveillance and quality measurement. Specifically, in an effort to increase data quality, the U.S. Core Data for Interoperability (USCDI) will introduce a new data class on pregnancy status as well as other data classes and elements important for supporting maternal health. ONC will also explore ways to increase adoption of standards-based technical innovations and harmonization of data elements tied to improved maternal health outcomes with its federal partners and industry stakeholders.

Goal 5 calls for advancing and addressing social determinants of maternal health by expanding maternal mental health access, developing community needs assessments in consultation with pregnant and postpartum individuals, and increase access to effective digital tools to expand and enhance maternal healthcare.

In addition to supporting the Administration’s goals to combat the maternal health crisis, HIMSS is leading the charge for health equity with insights, best practices and resources through virtual and in-person education, events and networking. 

From Oct. 24-28, 2022, HIMSS will present Global Health Equity Week, a global call to action celebrating the power of information and technology to improve access to healthcare for all communities. This year’s event will continue to support maternal health, patient identification and safety, telehealth and public health data modernization with a focus on broadband access, digital health literacy and digital inclusion.

In 2021, The HIMSS Global Health Equity Network and Accelerate Health partnered to launch the Global Maternal Health Tech Challenge, a competition to crowdsource solutions that address barriers in care coordination and behavioral health that can be implemented to improve maternal health outcomes. CareSignal took the top prize at the 2021 competition. It is a deviceless remote patient monitoring platform that engages large patient populations via evidence-based automated texts and phone calls.

In early 2021, HIMSS proudly joined 190 other organizations to support the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021, introduced by Reps. Lauren Underwood and Alma Adams, Sen. Cory Booker and members of the Black Maternal Health Caucus. The bicameral legislative package consists of 12 bills that aim to comprehensively address the drivers of the maternal health crisis in the United States and end racial and ethnic disparities in maternal health outcomes. 

HIMSS, along with its partner REACH, hosted a roundtable at HIMSS21 to develop a digital tech-enabled maternal health action plan. Participants discussed model practices and strategies that can be utilized by state and local health organizations in the battle to lower the U.S. maternal mortality rate.

HIMSS is a co-chair of the Maternal Applications of Technology for Community Health (MATCH) Coalition, which aims to bring together a group of diverse stakeholders who believe in the value of digital health technology for maternal health and wish to ensure its safe, affordable and ubiquitous adoption.

To share any thoughts on the blueprint or to get involved in HIMSS’s ongoing efforts to improve maternal health, please contact policy@himss.org.

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