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Developing maternity patient reported outcome measures

Midwife check up, Zimbabwe

The aim of this PhD project is to develop a Patient Reported Outcome Measure (PROM) for use in maternity services in low and middle income countires (LMICs).

Although there is evidence of improvement in the provision of maternity services in LMICs, and a reduction in the maternal mortality ratio, mortality statistics among child-bearing women are still unacceptably high and largely preventable (UN, 2015). Whilst the provision of maternity services is important, it is needs to be of a suitable quality.

PROMs have been used in the UK National Health Service for a number of years to assess the quality of healthcare and provide standardised outcomes for research purposes. They allow the combination of clinical and patient perspectives when measuring the outcomes of care provision. The aim of this PhD project is to develop a PROM for use within maternity services in LMICs.

The research will combine currently available literature with maternity service user and health care provider focus groups to develop a set of outcomes. An e-Delphi technique will then be used to refine the outcomes and develop a scoring/weighting system. The final tool will be piloted in 1-2 LMICs.

It is expected that outcomes will be grouped under four domains: physical, psychological, social and infant and might include aspects such as pain, fever, depression, relationships and infant feeding.

UN (2015) The Millenium Development Goals Report 2015