Health Plan News

Reearchers Study Effects of COVID-19 on Preterm Birth

Researchers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) have formed a new consortium that will examine the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on preterm birth and healthcare, funded by $300,000 in grants by the Freedom Blue Cross Foundation, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware’s donor-advised finance, also BluePrints for its Community.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has led to deep changes in the way Prenatal care is being delivered and used, on top of changes to how pregnant women lead their lives,” said Heather H. Burris, MD, an attending neonatologist at CHOP and co-lead investigator of the research. “This funding will enable us to explore the effect these changes are having on preterm birth and perinatal care and whether these effects vary by demographic or socioeconomic groups.”

The study builds on earlier investigations that Dr. Burris and Colleagues have played using local data on the effect of COVID-19 on preterm births and stillbirths in Philadelphia. In this new collaborative, the members of AQUEDUCT (Advancing Quality, Usage, and Equity for your Dyad: Understanding Care Together) will analyze a national cohort of patients insured by Highmark-BCBS who are pregnant and/or bringing between 2018 and 2020, together with the COVID-19 age defined as starting in March 2020.

The researchers will look at both spontaneous and medically-indicated Preterm births as well as stillbirth rates, utilizing data in the big and diverse AQUEDUCT cohort to assess the effect of the pandemic on those results, which might provide important details regarding the drivers of preterm birth. The research team will also analyze how frequently patients attended prenatal visits and what tests they failed at every appointment.

In analyzing the data, the researchers intend to Assess the demographics of the mother, as well as baby health metrics and hospital characteristics, including whether it is an urban or rural hospital and contains a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Within an Attempt to better understand the factors resulting in preterm birth, the prices of which haven’t substantially changed in three years, the study team will examine both spontaneous and birth (spontaneous onset of labor or water breaking) and medically-indicated preterm birth (preterm delivery via labor induction or cesarean section that’s required for the health of the mother or infant). The investigators will also analyze the number of healthcare visits, together with utilization of ultrasounds, telehealth visits, glucose tolerance tests, along with other tests normally conducted at prenatal visits.

“With this collaboration Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware, we will Ascertain not only the Consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak on birth outcomes and health care, But we may also learn important lessons about prenatal best practices That could improve health care and birth outcomes beyond a Pandemic situation,” Dr. Burris said. “By bringing together national Leaders in neonatology and perinatal epidemiology from prestigious Questions about the pandemic and its impact on how families seek and Receive medical attention, that will enhance our understanding of preterm Birth and the way to decrease its frequency.”

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