Publication Date: January 5th, 2022
Publication Type(s): Methodology Brief
Topic(s): Health Disparities and Health Equity, Healthcare Access, Hospitals and Clinics, Maternal Health, Women
Author(s): Interrante JD, Carroll C, Handley S, and Kozhimannil KB
Health services research has used a range of methods for measuring whether hospitals have an obstetric unit. Variation across methods may lead to inaccurate or inconsistent findings and to different conclusions about access to obstetric services. Having a clear and consistent measurement of obstetric care access is important for policymaking on rural health as well as maternal and infant health. As such, there is a need for a transparent and replicable process for consistently defining whether a hospital has an obstetric unit. The purpose of this methodology brief is to describe an enhanced method for identifying hospital-based obstetric unit status and for identifying closures of obstetric units.