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Louisiana - DHH Launches Tracking System to Collect Pre-Term Birth Data Collection (April 04, 2012)

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  • Louisiana - DHH Launches Tracking System to Collect Pre-Term Birth Data Collection (April 04, 2012)

    Office of the Secretary | Public Health | Birth Outcomes

    DHH Launches Tracking System to Collect Pre-Term Birth Data Collection

    Change helps health professionals better monitor why, when deliveries occur before 39 weeks

    Wednesday, April 4, 2012 | Contact: Bureau of Media & Communications (225) 342-7913 or (225) 252-3579 (cell)

    BATON ROUGE—For the first time, health care professionals will be able to use data on births that occur before the 39th week of pregnancy, thanks to enhancements a team of public health leaders developed for the Louisiana Electronic Event Registration System (LEERS).

    LEERS is the state's web-based vital records system that captures data from modules for birth, death, fetal death, marriage and divorce records. A cross-departmental team that included representatives from DHH, the Louisiana Hospital Association and individual birthing hospitals recommended the LEERS enhancements for the birth module to track why babies are born before the 39th week, which medical professionals consider too early. With these data, DHH can create a real-time record of why preterm deliveries happen in Louisiana.

    "We need to know when and why pre-term births happen to ensure Louisiana's babies have the best chance of living full, healthy lives," said DHH Secretary Bruce D. Greenstein. "With these changes to LEERS, we can see common factors or circumstances that cause women to have their babies too early. If you can't measure it, you can't manage it - and this information will give us the tools to identify risks faster and develop better policies and targeted interventions to prevent a preterm birth from occurring."
    "Today, we know that Louisiana ranks 48th nationally in infant mortality and preterm birth, and 49th in the percentage of low birth weight and the percentage of very low birth weight babies, but we don't have the data necessary to understand why. This change will move the state's vital records system from measurement to action, empowering the Department to create meaningful policies," said Dr. Rebekah Gee who directs the Birth Outcomes Initiative and led the action teams.

    "Safety and security don't just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear."
    -Nelson Mandela