Using an Optimality Index to Understand Perinatal Health Disparities: A Pilot Study With Latina Immigrants.

Author(s): Gonzales FA,  Le HN,  Perry DF

Journal: J Transcult Nurs

Date: 2014 Jul

Major Program(s) or Research Group(s): CPFP

PubMed ID: 24518061

PMC ID: not available

Abstract: PURPOSE: This study demonstrates preliminary evidence of the utility of an optimality index as a simple tool for monitoring complications across the perinatal period. METHOD: The medical records of 147 Latina women participating in a preventive randomized controlled trial for perinatal depression were reviewed for outcomes across the perinatal period. RESULTS: Application of the optimality index found optimality scores ranging from 77.3% to 97.7% in a Latina immigrant population known to have low rates of low-birthweight infants and preterm birth. Optimality scores were significantly lower among women who had a preterm birth or low-birthweight infant. DISCUSSION: The ability of optimality indices to capture within-group variability will allow for a more nuanced understanding of the antecedents and sequelae of negative birth outcomes. IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Increasing reliance on electronic medical records will facilitate the calculation of optimality scores that can be used to track patterns of perinatal health disparities.