Each year, over 2.2 million women face the prospect of childbirth without the help of a hospital offering obstetrics, a birth center or OB provider in their community. For these women, and 150,000 babies, maternity care deserts are an all-too-common reality in the United States, where unequal access to healthcare is contributing to a maternal and infant health crisis.
To combat the prevalence of these maternity care deserts, March of Dimes, a leader in the fight for the health of all moms and babies, has collaborated with the Deloitte Health Equity Institute to launch the Maternity Care Desert and Health Equity Interactive Tool, a new insights dashboard that will make information available about maternity care access for women in the United States and will guide healthcare stakeholders as they work to provide necessary care to at-risk women and babies. For too long, the maternal health crisis hasn’t been visible, limited to statistics and other numerical figures. This tool builds off of the March of Dimes 2020 Maternity Care Desert Report to visually illustrate not only the prevalence of maternity care deserts but also the very real drivers of health and chronic health conditions that are associated with living in these deserts. The dashboard offers the capability of interacting with and examining community level indicators when considering appropriate maternal care interventions.
The dashboard will be previewed today at the 2022 SXSW conference in Austin, Texas in the March of Dimes-led session entitled Combatting Maternity Care Deserts in the U.S. at 11:30-12:30 pm C.T.
“Maternity care deserts are a very real, very serious issue that far too many women and babies in the U.S. face. Access to quality maternity care is a critical component of maternal health and positive birth outcomes, especially in light of the high rates of maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity in the U.S.,” said Stacey D. Stewart, President and CEO of March of Dimes. “We are grateful to Deloitte for their collaboration in developing this tool to help us better identify the areas of greatest need and the resources needed to ensure every mom and baby gets a healthy start.”
The data and analytics from this dashboard can provide a more comprehensive view of maternity care desert locations, as well as provide information about the relationship between maternity care deserts and issues of race/ethnicity, income status, and chronic health inequities among women of childbearing age. This map can be used by federal, state, local, academic, and other decision makers to aid in the identification, education, and resource allocation necessary to combat the maternal health crisis affecting women and infants in the United States.
How it Works
The Maternity Care Desert and Health Equity Interactive Tool is powered by Deloitte’s HealthPrism™ data and insights (1,700 determinants of health data variables and 20+ disease state models) and will specifically allow users to isolate counties based on their access to maternity care, OB hospitals or birth centers and obstetric providers (per 10,000 births). Counties are broken down into four levels within each category: no access (i.e. maternity care deserts), low access, moderate access and full access. Users can also explore accessibility at the state level, which provides more information about affected women’s demographics, household compositions, social determinants of health and chronic health conditions. The dashboard is available as a new helpful data and resource tool on March of Dimes PeriStats website, www.marchofdimes.org/peristats/.
To populate the data, the dashboard uses HealthPrism, as well as data from multiple large commercially available consumer marketing datasets and publicly available data from the U.S. census and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The dashboard uses predictive models to accurately display results of racially and ethnically diverse groups.
2022 SXSW Conference
The Maternity Care Desert Dashboard will be featured in March of Dimes’ debut presence at the 2022 SXSW Conference. On Saturday, March 12, from 11:30am to 12:30pm C.T., Stacey D. Stewart will be leading a session entitled, “Combatting Maternity Care Deserts in the U.S.,” which will preview the Maternity Care Dashboard and its capabilities.
The session will feature a conversation with Dr. Judette Louis, March of Dimes Board Member and Chair of the Department of OB/GYN at University of South Florida, who will discuss the prevalence and impact of maternity care deserts, as well as the policy, technology and mobile solutions needed to better serve women and babies.
“It’s not enough to know where maternity care deserts exist, but to truly improve the health and well-being of mothers and babies, we need to better understand the factors that can affect their health in addition to access to care,” said Jay Bhatt, D.O., MPH, MPA, Executive Director of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions and the Deloitte Health Equity Institute. “This dashboard offers data and analytics that can help the March of Dimes and others committed to improving women’s health better understand the needs of women specific to their individual communities and align resources to provide better, more equitable care with dignity and respect grounded in trust.”
The March of Dimes at the 2022 SXSW Conference entitled Combatting Maternal Care Deserts in the U.S. is taking place on Saturday, March 12, 2022, 11:30am - 12:30pm C.T. in the Waterloo Ballroom 3 at the Austin Marriott. More information can be found HERE.