Every Maternal Mortality Review Committee (MMRC) should have a comprehensive data strategy documented in its policies and procedures.
A MMRC’s data strategy should use best practices in the collection, abstraction, and analysis of maternal mortality data. Adhering to these standards ensures data collection is consistent and comparable across cases and with other jurisdictions. A strong data strategy prioritizes comprehensive and high-quality documentation of all decisions from an individual case or across cases to ensure the effort of abstracting and deliberating each case is translated into clear recommendations for action. This data strategy should include the following:
- Methods for identifying pregnancy-associated deaths
- Methods for assigning cases to abstractors
- Methods for collecting, abstracting, and managing records and data
- Methods for recording, collecting, and managing MMRC deliberations and recommendations
- Methods for analyzing, summarizing, and reporting data on maternal deaths
Central to a comprehensive data strategy is explicit guidance to all individuals with data responsibilities on how the MMRC upholds equity and manages and reduces bias in the data it collects, abstracts, and analyzes. Key aspects of an equitable and respectful data strategy include
- Training for case abstractors and committee members on recognition of racism and bias in data sources (e.g. medical records)
- Training for case abstractors and committee members on identifying and managing their own biases, and how those biases can affect the processes of case abstraction, narrative development, case presentation, and case review
- Prioritizing racial diversity among the MMRC team, including those with data responsibilities
- Engaging community-based organizations in the translation of quantitative data from case reviews into actionable reports
- Removing blame-centric language and presenting all disparity data with descriptive information about the processes that create inequitable health outcomes, as opposed to incorrectly suggesting that the deficiency is on the part of the individual or community
Maternal Mortality Review Information Application
To facilitate a common data language and standard data collection and analysis for MMRCs, the CDC partnered with MMRCs and subject matter experts to create the Maternal Mortality Review Information Application (MMRIA). MMRIA supports standard case abstraction, case narrative development, documentation of MMRC decisions around preventability, contributing factors to a death, and recommendations and routine analyses. MMRIA is the anchor of a high-quality and comprehensive data strategy for MMRCs.