Alarmingly, on average in the United States, 6.1 infants per 1,000 births do not survive (http://data.worldbank.org 2011). The reasons vary, and although devastating, it's a very difficult issue to combat.
Despite past efforts, the State of Indiana's infantmortality rate is even higher than the national average (7.7 deaths per 1,000 births)--and has been for several decades.
In past years, to tackle infant mortality, Indiana practiced a "one size fits all" approach, providing even funding to different programs that state officials "suspected" were the root causes of the problem. However, when Governor Pence took office in January 2013, he made an oath to transform the way Indiana runs its government. He promised that Indiana will be the mosteffective, efficient, and transparent state government in the country. And of the first issues to be tackled, infant mortality took precedence.
Struggling to Find the Answer
The main difficulty in solving infant mortality lies in the many varying and evolving factors that contribute to the problem. Indiana's agencies operate a total of 800 individual systems which, in the past, restricted the facilitation of collaboration and production of data driven insights.
To gather factual, real-time information in a collaborative environment, the state implemented a technological initiative, titled the Management and Performance Hub (MPH), which runs on SAP Solutions including SAP HANA and SAP Lumira.
This new technology now provides Indiana with a centralized place to analyze agency information. The state can now examine a 360 degree view of the problem and create innovative solutions and new approaches.
"SAP Solutions have allowed us to pinpoint the problem by location, by the woman, and get the resources to that person that needs it. What we've done is taken all of these disparate agencies and their disparate systems and put them together in this collaborative, innovative, environment and developed a targeted solution," Sara Marshall Director of Business Intelligence and Analytics.
By harnessing cross agency collaboration, facilitated through the MPH initiative, the State of Indiana recently released a report highlighting the chief risk factors that contribute to infant mortality:
1. Inadequate prenatal care: the highest risk of infant deaths is to mothers with less than 10 prenatal visits
2. Medicaid enrollment: Significant disparities exist in infants born to mothers enrolled in Medicaid
3. Age: 15- to 20-year old mothers with fewer than 10 prenatal visits spike the scale for adverse health outcomes.
The study found that while identified high-risk subpopulations account for only 1.6 percent of all births in Indiana, they account for nearly 50 percent of infant deaths. With this new insight provided by the MPH, Indiana government agencies can truly tailor solutions to the people who need help most, helping to save and improve lives. The State of Indiana wants its Hoosier mothers and newborns to achieve the best quality of life possible.
Labor of Love
The first new initiative to transform data into action launched on January 14, 2015 when First Lady Karen Pence announced the new public awareness campaign, Labor of Love - Helping Indiana ReduceInfant Death. This campaign encourages women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant to learn about proper prenatal care and ways to ensure a healthy first year of life for infants.
"We were able to use preliminary results from the study to help shape the Labor of Love campaign messaging and placement," said State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams, M.D., M.P.H. "For example, because the study identified prenatal care as the top indicator for infant mortality, the importance of prenatal care was the exclusive focus of our television and radio efforts, in addition to being included in online and transit placement."
Creating Information Based Solutions
By harnessing the power of technology, the state hopes to predict possible outcomes for mothers. With that information, the state can personalize campaigns to those who need help most. Now funds will be allocated in the necessary amounts to subpopulations of mothers with different risk profiles instead of being spread evenly across the state.
Indiana as a Thought Leader
Now a leader in innovation and creativity, the State of Indiana serves as an example to other US States. Indiana is proof that by using data driven insights to solve public problems, governments as well as organizations and businesses can make stronger decisions and best help people. With technology, Indiana hopes to improve the lives of each and every Hoosier from infant to elder.
To learn more about the State of Indiana and its mission to combat infant mortality through the use of high speed data analytics, watch this video interview.
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