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Transparency and Medical Interventions in Vital Statistics Reports: Quantitative Research and Analysis Open Access

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Unnecessary medical interventions in childbirth carry substantial financial costs and can negatively affect health outcomes for childbearing women and their children. Transparency in the reporting of medical interventions has the potential to reduce incidences of unnecessary medical interventions and the poor outcomes associated with them by promoting accountability for maternity care providers and systems, and supplying health care consumers with information necessary for making informed decisions about their care. States publish annual vital statistics reports, and these reports vary in the extent to which they report on medical interventions in childbirth. The aim of this exploratory research is to test whether or not there is a relationship between the level of transparency as measured by state vital statistics reports, and the factors that contribute to and are indicative of high rates of unnecessary medical interventions in the maternity care system. Quantitative research using linear probability and binomial probit regression models are utilized to test for the presence of any such relationship. The results show that there is a slight association between cesarean section rates and level of transparency, with transparency levels being higher in states with very high or very low cesarean section rates. These findings may be helpful in directing advocates to work towards higher transparency in states were cesarean section rates are close to the national average. Future research should be directed to study what underlying factors might contribute towards the relationship between cesarean section rates and transparency.

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