Dr. Saraswathi Vedam Creates New Tool to Rate the Quality of Research in Place of Birth Outcomes!

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Place of birth is known to affect health outcomes, specifically when comparing women who give birth at home with women who give birth in a hospital or centre. While there are many studies that examine this difference, different conclusions are often drawn regarding the safety of home, birth centre, or hospital. To address this inconsistency, Dr. Vedam and colleagues aimed to develop a reliable instrument, Birth Place Research Quality Index (ResQu Index), to rate the quality of primary research on maternal and newborn outcomes by place of birth. Higher-scoring studies have greater potential to inform evidence-based selection of birth place. The Index can also guide the design of future research on place of birth.

The instrument development process involved five phases:
1) generation of items and a weighted scoring system
2) content validation via a quantitative survey and a modified Delphi process with an international, multi-disciplinary panel of experts
3) inter-rater consistency
4) alignment with established research appraisal tools
5) pilot-testing of instrument usability

After 5 phases were completed the Birth Place Research Quality Index (ResQu Index) was fully developed. The tool is a reliable instrument to evaluate the quality of design, methods and interpretation of reported outcomes from research about place of birth. Higher-scoring studies have greater potential to inform evidence-based selection of birth place by clinicians, policy makers, and women and their families. The Index can also guide the design of future research on place of birth.

To access the full article in PLoS ONE, please click here.