Background: Birth centres are described as settings where women with uncomplicated pregnancies can give birth in a home-like environment assisted by midwives and maternity care assistants. If complications arise or threaten, the woman is referred to a maternity unit of a hospital where an obstetrician will take over responsibility. In the last decade, a number of new birth centres have been established in the Netherlands, based on the assumption that birth centres provide better quality of care since they offer a better opportunity for more integrated care than the existing system with independent primary and secondary care providers. At present, there is no evidence for this assumption. The Dutch Birth Centre Study is designed to present evidence-based recommendations for organization and functioning of future birth centres in the Netherlands. A necessary first step in this evaluation is the development of indicators for measuring the quality of the care delivered in birth centres in the Netherlands. The aim of this study is to identify a comprehensive set of structure and process indicators to assess quality of birth centre care. Methods: We used mixed methods to develop a set of structure and process quality indicators for evaluating birth centre care. Beginning with a literature review, we developed an exhaustive list of determinants. We then used a Delphi study to narrow this list, calling on experts to rate the determinants for relevance and feasibility. A multidisciplinary expert panel of 63 experts, directly or indirectly involved with birth centre care, was invited to participate. Results: A panel of 42 experts completed two Delphi rounds rating determinants of the quality of birth centre care based on their relevance (to the setting) and feasibility (of use). A set of 30 determinants for structure and process quality indicators was identified to assess the quality of birth centre care in the Netherlands. Conclusions: We identified 30 determinants for structure and process quality indicators concerning birth centre care. This set will be validated during the evaluation of birth centres in the Dutch Birth Centre Study.

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Keywords Birthing centres, Delphi method, Quality indicators, Structure and process assessment, The Netherlands
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Journal BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
Boesveld, I.C, Hermus, M.A.A, de Graaf, H.J. (Hanneke J.), Hitzert, M.F, van der Pal-De Bruin, K.M, de Vries, R.G. (Raymond G.), … Wiegers, T.A. (2017). Developing quality indicators for assessing quality of birth centre care: A mixed- methods study. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 17(1). doi:10.1186/s12884-017-1439-9