Quality Framework for Remote Antenatal Care

Qualitative Study with Women, Healthcare Professionals and System-Level Stakeholders

Published in: BMJ Quality & Safety (2022). doi: 10.1136/bmjqs-2021-014329

Posted on RAND.org on May 17, 2022

by Lisa Hinton, Francesca H. Dakin, Karolina Kuberska, Nicola Boydell, Janet Willars, Timothy J. Draycott, Cathy Winter, Richard J. McManus, Lucy C. Chappell, Sanhita Chakrabarti, et al.

Read More

Access further information on this document at BMI Journals

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

Background

High-quality antenatal care is important for ensuring optimal birth outcomes and reducing risks of maternal and fetal mortality and morbidity. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the usual provision of antenatal care, with much care shifting to remote forms of provision. We aimed to characterise what quality would look like for remote antenatal care from the perspectives of those who use, provide and organise it.

Methods

This UK-wide study involved interviews and an online survey inviting free-text responses with: those who were or had been pregnant since March 2020; maternity professionals and managers of maternity services and system-level stakeholders. Recruitment used network-based approaches, professional and community networks and purposively selected hospitals. Analysis of interview transcripts was based on the constant comparative method. Free-text survey responses were analysed using a coding framework developed by researchers.

Findings

Participants included 106 pregnant women and 105 healthcare professionals and managers/stakeholders. Analysis enabled generation of a framework of the domains of quality that appear to be most relevant to stakeholders in remote antenatal care: efficiency and timeliness; effectiveness; safety; accessibility; equity and inclusion; person-centredness and choice and continuity. Participants reported that remote care was not straightforwardly positive or negative across these domains. Care that was more transactional in nature was identified as more suitable for remote modalities, but remote care was also seen as having potential to undermine important aspects of trusting relationships and continuity, to amplify or create new forms of structural inequality and to create possible risks to safety.

Conclusions

This study offers a provisional framework that can help in structuring thinking, policy and practice. By outlining the range of domains relevant to remote antenatal care, this framework is likely to be of value in guiding policy, practice and research.

Research conducted by

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/research-integrity.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.