When it comes to juggling health care administration, information technology and subject matter expertise, availability to provide input to data collection processes and systems can become a major limiting factor. One benefit of the BFHI’s global reach and an incentive to expand its implementation is that the inclusion of BFHI ready data monitoring in systems used by facilities in multiple countries and regions means that there is less ‘bespoke’ work for each facility and excellent comparability.
While I have spent the last decade or so in lactation, like many IBCLCs, I came to the breastfeeding field after another career, in an apparently unrelated area. In some ways, I believe this may be one of the strengths of the field because it means there is a great variety of experiences to enrich the field outside of the health care and counselling skills we all share.
Even with the very best data monitoring systems that fully reflect the needs of the BFHI facility, the data must be captured and stored - and the very first step of that is generally the bedside interactions by frontline staff. Exactly how a baby is being fed, even in a short uneventful postpartum stay, can be a long story that needs clinical judgement to interpret into a checkbox or text field on a form.
“The good news about computers is that they do what you tell them to do. The bad news is that they do what you tell them to do.” -Ted Nelson
Despite the focus on the responsibilities of management and administrators to fund, create and maintain data monitoring systems in these domains, it will continue to remain critical for frontline staff to have the skills and knowledge to interpret infant feeding histories appropriately, both to provide high-quality care to patients and to create high-quality data to inform the care of future patients in the facility and beyond.
Creating regular opportunities to review and improve data quality goes beyond data monitoring outcomes and can be a direct way to identify staff training needs and improve skills.
Michelle Pensa Branco MPH IBCLC
Programming Wisdom [codewisdom]. (2018, Feb 11) “The good news about computers is that they do what you tell them to do. The bad news is that they do what you tell them to do." - Ted Nelson [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/CodeWisdom/status/962740265311141889?s=20
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