A Special Focus on Accuracy of State Birth Data and Cost Effectiveness of Tests

Development of a center to assess perinatal services and outcomes in New Jersey

This grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) supported the start-up activities of the Center for Perinatal Health Initiatives (CPHI), which was created to assess changes in perinatal services and outcomes in New Jersey, and is housed at the Department of OB/GYN and Reproductive Sciences at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) - Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

CPHI collaborated with a wide range of organizations and agencies, including representatives of the seven New Jersey Maternal and Child Health Consortia established in the 1980s to develop referral systems for high-risk births within defined geographic areas.

Initial meetings of CPHI participants raised concerns about the validity of the state's electronic birth certificate (EBC) data. As this was the primary data source for tracking trends in the quality of perinatal care, CPHI focused its first research projects on evaluating EBC data and developing strategies for improving its accuracy.

Key Results

  • Three of the state's seven consortia conducted data validation projects, at least one of which resulted in decreasing error rates of EBC data during the validation period.
  • CPHI developed a new model for analyzing an array of prenatal test procedures, including detection of Down syndrome, neural tube defects, trisomy 18, and cystic fibrosis. The model provides a method of judging how sensitive these obstetric test procedures need to be in order to be cost effective.
  • During the grant period, more than 50 articles on perinatal and maternal health issues were published or submitted to peer-reviewed journals, and CPHI participants made numerous presentations at national scientific meetings.
  • Innovative statistical methodologies were developed and applied to longitudinal data that will facilitate tracking of perinatal results over time. CPHI's research work has been enhanced through its extensive collaborations across disciplines at the UMDNJ.

Funding

RWJF supported the project with a grant of $228,726 from August 1996 to January 1999.

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