Peer Pressure and Research Credited with Significantly Lowering Episiotomy RatesMAY 8, 2009
At the 57th annual meeting of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, results from a 10-year study of episiotomy trends among different practice groups at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, found that "a substantial reduction in episiotomy rates across patient and provider groups" had occurred due to "factors as varied as local peer pressure and response to significant research. Patient preference and other factors also contributed." Kurt L. Barnhart, MD, MSCE, moderator and member of ACOG's Committee on Scientific Programs, Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Epidemiology, Senior Scholar, Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and director of Penn‘s Women's Health Clinical Research Center, comments on the study in a Medscape article. "Papers like this confirm that there are secular trends in medicine, and often for the better. So it's important for these studies to be done, to demonstrate something, even though we think it's intuitive. We all thought that episiotomies were probably not necessary, but you can't just suggest change, you'd like to measure that that change has actually occurred. This paper very nicely demonstrates that evidence-based medicine, and talking about a problem, results in change."