Quality improvement opportunities for handover practices in birth centres: a case study from a process perspective.
Rationale, aims and objectives: Handovers within and between health care settings are known to affect quality of care. Health care organizations, struggle how to guarantee best care during handovers. The aim of this paper is to evaluate handover practices in Dutch birth centres from a process perspective, to identify obstacles and opportunities for quality improvements. Methods: This case study in 7 Dutch birth centres was undertaken from a process perspective by conducting observations and using process mapping. This study is part of the Dutch Birth Centre Study. Results: Solutions to obstacles during handovers from a birth centre to a hospital were identified in at least 1 of the 7 birth centres. Four of the centres had agreements with a hospital for client support when a caregiver in a birth centre was absent. Face‐to‐face communication during handover was observed in 6 of the 7 centres. An electronic health record was noted in 1 centre; joint training of acute situations was available in 2 centres with 3 centres indicating that this was not compulsory. Continuity of caregiver was present in 4 birth centres with postpartum care available in 3 centres. Conclusions: Ensuring quality during handovers requires a case‐specific process approach. This study reveals distinctive aspects during handovers, concrete obstacles, and potential solutions for quality improvements in inter‐organizational networks, transferrable to birth centres in other countries as well. (aut. ref.