Called Birthplace: Your Guide to Birthing Facilities in Queensland, it is an online tool that provides information on all 62 birthing facilities in Queensland, public and private.
Research Fellow Rachel Thompson, who is leading the project, said Birthplace was developed in response to women’s requests for more information about their options and more transparency in maternity care in general.
“From our early work talking with pregnant women and new mothers, it became clear that the best birthing facility for one woman may not be the best for another,” Ms Thompson said.
“There are major variations in practice across different hospitals and birth centres in Queensland. Facilities differ in the types of care they offer and in their policies and practices.
“Women want this information to help them make the best choices for them.”
Ms Thompson said Birthplace supported women and families to identify the facility that best met their individual needs and preferences.
She said the information provided about each facility includes types of care offered, quality of interpersonal care, levels of medical intervention and special services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and culturally and linguistically diverse women.
She said women who may not have much choice in where to birth, such as those in rural and remote areas, Birthplace provided information about what to expect from the planned place of birth.
“Many women in rural and remote Queensland who relocate to a city for birth may never have been to that hospital or birth centre before,” she said.
“They often miss out on opportunities to get to see the facility in advance, and to find out about the care offered.
“Birthplace isn’t a solution to all the access issues experienced by families in rural and remote communities, but Birthplace can at least help families know what to expect.”
Aleena Wojcieszek, a research officer on the project, said Birthplace has been developed to be useful to as many different people in the community as possible.
“In developing Birthplace, we have made considerable efforts to ensure the information is relevant and easy to understand, and to overcome common barriers to uptake of online health information,” Ms Wojcieszek said.
“The information we provide in Birthplace is based on what women told us they want to know. We have also used strategies that we know enhance comprehension of health and statistical information, including the presentation of statistics via diagrams and pictures, and a built-in dictionary which translates medical jargon for the user.”
Picture: A screenshot of the Birthplace online tool that allows people to explore birth facilities across Queensland.
Ms Thompson said, most importantly, the information in Birthplace was sourced not only from the birthing facilities but also from women who have recently had their babies in those facilities via a QCMB-run biennial survey of maternity care consumers whose responses are fed directly into Birthplace.
She said this was a key demonstration of the Centre’s agenda to promote consumer-driven health service reform.
Both the uptake and impact of Birthplace is being evaluated by researches in the QCMB over the next two years.
For more information about the project, please contact Rachel Thompson:
To visit birthplace, please go to: