Optimal Birth Objectives

Optimal Birth BC was funded in 2008 by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to develop, support and test interventions in maternity care in order to promote optimal use of cesarean section.

Optimal Birth BC was first presented at the Cesarean Consensus Conference sponsored by BC Women’s Hospital in 2008. At the conference, Dr. Patricia Janssen (Principal Applicant) and Dr. Anne Synnes (Co-Applicant) proposed that the Province of B.C. test a method of quality improvement called EPIC (Evidence-Based Practice and Change) to address rising cesarean birth rates. The conference was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Sport and Health Living, Health Authorities, hospital administrators, obstetricians, obstetrical nurses, midwives, family practice physicians, obstetrical anesthetists, and pediatricians. The proposal was accepted and was incorporated into the Cesarean Task Force Report recommendations.

The specific objectives of Optimal Birth BC are to:

  • Identify determinants of variation in cesarean birth rates within and among health authorities;
  • Study the impact of the EPIC approach (Evidence-Based Practice Identification and Change), a quality improvement method developed in Canada, to reducing the cesarean birth rate of the province;
  • Identify and measure factors within regional health authorities that are associated with adoption of the EPIC framework as a quality improvement method;
  • Develop and evaluate a consumer-targeted education strategy aimed at improving knowledge of risks and benefits associated with cesarean birth;
  • Build a sustainable infrastructure for ongoing surveillance, mentoring, and public education to ensure optimal rates of cesarean delivery within the Health Authorities.