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OB Hypertension Sprint: Improvements in Prevention & Identification

2024 Obstetric Hypertension Sprint: Improvements in Prevention & Identification

This sprint is designed to tackle the multifaceted challenges surrounding Hypertensive Disorders of Pregnancy (HDP), specifically,  promoting safe and effective use of low-dose aspirin as a preventive measure and enhancing recognition through the implementation of Blue Bands. It aims to address critical gaps in hypertension awareness, postpartum surveillance, and preventive measures to improve outcomes. 

By providing comprehensive education and resources, we aim to equip healthcare professionals with the necessary knowledge and skills to identify, manage, and monitor hypertensive disorders during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Enhanced HDP surveillance protocols will ensure timely detection and management of hypertension-related complications, thereby improving patient safety and outcomes. 

The Blue Band Initiative is pivotal in improving recognition of the unique risks for individuals with hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (such as eclampsia, severe hypertension, and stroke) facilitating timely intervention for individuals at risk of developing preeclampsia. By visually identifying high-risk patients, the bands serve as a proactive measure to alert healthcare providers and facilitate prompt intervention and support. Assistance in implementing the Blue Band Initiative will be provided to facilities should they be interested, ensuring standardized and effective utilization across different settings. 

Promoting the safe use of low-dose aspirin as a preventive measure for HDP is another vital component of this sprint. By disseminating evidence-based guidelines and best practices, we aim to increase awareness among healthcare providers and birthing people about the benefits and appropriate use of low-dose aspirin. Encouraging adherence to guidelines will not only improve patient outcomes but also streamline patient management pathways and enhance the overall quality of care. 

The project will provide collaborative networking opportunities with other healthcare providers,  public health professionals, and emergency departments. By fostering partnerships and sharing best practices, we can collectively work towards addressing the challenges associated with obstetric hypertension on a broader scale. 

All are welcome to participate in any or all of the following sessions, regardless of background or expertise. Whether you’re a member of hospital staff, clinic staff, community organizations, public health professionals, or involved in home care visits, this sprint is tailored for you! Engage with experts and peers to exchange insights, best practices, and innovative solutions aimed at enhancing preventive measures and optimizing outcomes.

Don’t miss out! Register now using the Zoom link below to secure your spot in this learning experience. Hope to see you there!

April 24, 2024: 12-1pm


Intro & Project Overview by MNPQC, Storyboard Sharing (background/hospital context, barriers, strengths), Facilitation of Ordering Blue Band


Susan Thompson Boehm

Ella Rusnacko

May 1, 2024: 12-1pm

Presentation: Brief overview of maternal hypertension, review of Blue Band implementation at St. Cloud Hospital, review of current statistics gathered

Presenter: Meredith Wells, BSN, RNC-OB
Meredith has been working in obstetrical nursing for the past 25 years and has worked in postpartum, labor and delivery, OR, PACU, triage, NRP instruction, and as a charge nurse. She currently works as the Nurse Clinician at the Birth Center at St. Cloud Hospital- CentraCare. She is an AWHONN member, has participated in the MNPQC Maternal Hypertension ECHO, and recently joined the MNPQC Program Advisory Committee.

May 8, 2024: 12-1pm

Presentation: Discussion of hypertensive disorders in Duluth, MN and surrounding service areas, implementation of the Blue Band Initiative and lesson learned, and implementation of LDASA Screening at the first prenatal visit. Brief discussion of collaboration with Public Health Nurses and the Heart-to-Heart program.

Dr. Swanson Bio: Dr. Swanson, MD, OBGYN, was raised in Northern Minnesota and returned to Duluth to provide woman-centered obstetric and gynecological care. She was attracted most to the field of obstetrics and gynecology because of the opportunity to help other women in a challenging, fulfilling way. Her philosophy of care includes supporting patient autonomy and reminding patients that they’re ultimately in control of their treatment plan. In her time outside of work she enjoys sewing, baking and snowmobiling.

Mallory Cummings Bio: Mallory Cummings, MHA, RN, MCH Project Manager and Doula Coordinator grew up in the Twin Cities and has lived in Duluth since 2010. Having spent over 12 years in healthcare, she is passionate about perinatal health and improving outcomes across Minnesota for all birthing people and newborns through innovative and evidence-based initiatives. When she is not working, she is plenty busy at home with her husband, son, and five retired sled dogs.

May 15, 2024: 12-1pm

Presentation: Hypertension in pregnancy and particularly postpartum is an area of Dr. Sabol’s clinical and research expertise. At UMMC Dr. Sabol implemented a postpartum home blood pressure monitoring program for patients with chronic hypertension and hypertensive disorders of pregnancy called Home Observation of Postpartum Elevated Blood Pressure (HOPE-BP). This program run by Dr. Sabol and her Maternal Fetal Medicine nursing team monitors the blood pressures of participating patients twice daily through 6 weeks postpartum. She will be sharing her experience with implementation of this program and its successes as part of our OB Hypertension Sprint on May 15th.

Bio: Dr. Bethany Sabol is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical Center. She recently completed her Masters of Applied Science in Patient Safety and Healthcare Quality and is the Vice Chair of Quality and Safety for Obstetrics as well as the Medical Director for Quality & Safety for the Women and Children’s Service Line for MHealth Fairview. She was the co-chair of the MNPQC’s Hypertension in Pregnancy Initiative and she looks forward to chairing the work of this OB Hypertension Sprint.

May 22, 2024: 12-1pm

Presentation: Delaware Low Dose Aspirin Implementation- Accomplishments, Lessons Learned, Barriers/Successes & Sharing of Valuable Resources

Bio: Bridget Buckaloo has more than 37 years of perinatal nursing experience. Ms. Buckaloo earned both her BSN and MSN as a Perinatal Clinical Specialist from the University of Delaware College of Nursing. She re-joined Beebe Healthcare in 2014 as the Executive Director for Women’s Health Services.  Prior to her current role at Beebe, Bridget worked for The Delaware Perinatal Cooperative and the March of Dimes Delaware Chapter, where she served as the Perinatal Project Coordinator. In her role as the Perinatal Project Coordinator, she interfaced with providers, hospitals, and other key partners in the State of Delaware to promote Best Practice and Standards of Care through Quality Improvement initiatives.  Projects included:  the “Kicks Count” Campaign,  the Delaware Safe Sleep campaign, Development of  patient care guidelines for Newborns with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome,  Development of a Plan for Maternal Transport, including development of a Maternal Transport Course for labor and delivery nurses, The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, The Delaware Makena Project, and efforts to combat Perinatal Depression. Currently, Bridget represents Beebe Healthcare as a Governor appointed member of the Delaware Perinatal Quality Collaborative Board.

May 29, 2024: 12-1pm
Presentation: Brief overview of Blue Bands in WA state and available resources
Learning Objectives:
  • By the end of this presentation the learner will be able to list 3 of the program considerations for Blue Bands in birthing hospitals 
  • By the end of this presentation the learner will be able to utilize resources for implementing a Blue Bands Quality Improvement program at their facility 

Bio: Rebecca Penders is a doctorly prepared nurse and is with the WA Department of Health and Providence Inland Northwest Washington serving in the role of Perinatal Network Coordinator. She received her BSN from the University of Maine in 2004 and her PhD from the University of Massachusetts in 2020. She has been a labor and delivery nurse for over 20 years, taught Nursing and Nutrition classes and is currently certified in Impatient Obstetrics; and Obstetric and Neonatal Quality and Safety. She is passionate about maternal health equity and breastfeeding health policy and is leading the statewide project, Hypertensive Disorders of Pregnancy and Postpartum Quality Initiative: Blue Bands. Her team was recognized for the Quality Improvement Award WA AWHONN in Fall 2023.

June 5, 2024: 12-1pm
Presentation: In late 2023, Oklahoma launched a statewide low-dose aspirin in pregnancy initiative to reduce rates of preeclampsia and improve birth outcomes. This presentation will cover best practices, and successes and barriers in launching a statewide awareness campaign that targets providers, clinicians, community birth workers, and the general public.
Learning Objectives:
  • Learn about resources available to support the integration of Low Dose Aspirin into obstetrical care practices 
  • Gain insights into best practices for promoting awareness and adherence to Low Dose Aspirin recommendations among healthcare providers and patients
  • Discuss potential barriers encountered and strategies for overcoming them in the adoption of Lose Dose Aspirin protocols 

Bio: Melissa Warde is a project manager with the Oklahoma Perinatal Quality Collaborative (OPQIC) leading strategy development and implementation of OPQIC’s low-dose aspirin campaign. Previously, she held roles as Operations Chair within the Department of Interprofessional Education (IPE) at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (OUHSC), overseeing team-based clinical care operations, and as Store Manager for multiple drug store pharmacies across the OKC metro area, with a focus on enhancing pharmacy operations. Melissa holds a Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) from the Hudson College of Public Health at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Oklahoma.

June 20, 2024: 12-1pm

More Information Coming Soon.

Blue Band Project

To identify gaps across systems providing care on maternal HTN and reach our communities across urban and rural regions, the MNPQC is introducing The Blue Band Project: an innovative system approach to implement across the continuum of care, including clinics, hospitals, homecare and community.

In July of 2022 MNPQC concluded the first phase of a statewide quality improvement initiative to improve the identification, treatment, and follow up of hypertension in pregnancy and the postpartum period. Participating teams increased the percentage of birthing people with severe hypertension who were treated within 60 minutes from 55% to 71%. The shift in the data seen on the Shewhart chart above represents a relative improvement of 30% and demonstrates the change ideas implemented by our teams created an impactful improvement.

Hypertension in Pregnancy/Postpartum Patient Experience Survey

Blue Band Patient Experience Survey