To explore factors that may influence use of comparative public reports for hospital maternity care.
Four focus groups conducted in 2013 with 41 women and preintervention survey data collected in 2014 to 2015 from 245 pregnant women in North Carolina.
As part of a larger randomized controlled trial, we conducted qualitative formative research to develop an intervention that will be evaluated through pre‐ and postintervention surveys.
Analysis of focus group transcripts examined participants' perceptions of high‐quality maternity care and the importance of different quality measures. Quantitative analysis included descriptive results of the preintervention survey and subgroup analyses to examine the impact of race, education, and being a first‐time mom on outcomes.
When describing high‐quality maternity care, participants focused on interactions with providers, including respect for preferences and communication. The importance of quality measures was influenced by the extent to which they focused on babies' health, were perceived as the hospital's responsibility, and were perceived as representing “standard care.” At baseline, 28 percent of survey respondents had used quality information to choose a hospital. Survey respondents were more aware of some quality measures (e.g., breastfeeding support) than others (e.g., episiotomy rates).
Public reporting efforts could help increase relevance of maternity care quality measures by creating measures that reflect women's concerns, clearly explaining the hospital's role in supporting quality care, and showing how available quality measures can inform decisions about childbirth.