Successful maternal mortality review committees (MMRC) are composed of diverse members from multidisciplinary backgrounds. While MMRC members contribute their expertise during the review process, there are other roles that are essential to the functioning and sustainability of the review.
Case abstractors are the most critical members of maternal mortality review committees (MMRC). Case abstraction is the most time-consuming process in administering an MMR and requires an extensive amount of training and resources. MMRCs should have one or more clinically trained case abstractors, preferably nurses with five or more years of experience in obstetric care. Abstractors must be persistent and detail-oriented when collecting and managing data.
MMRC case abstractors should have a standing position on the committee rather than a rotating role. Jurisdictions decide how to fill this position in a way that best maximizes resources and case load. For example, in larger jurisdictions, case abstractors might be staff members from regional perinatal centers. In smaller jurisdictions, the same case abstractor working with Fetal and Infant Mortality Review (FIMR) may also abstract maternal death cases.
Committee chairs are responsible for providing overall leadership to the committee. Responsibilities may include the following:
MMRCs need support positions as well. These positions should include a coordinator, a database manager, and one or more epidemiologists. Their responsibilities can vary between individual reviews. For example, coordinators might take on some of the facilitation and agenda-setting responsibilities for review committee meetings. They may meet with case abstractors to prioritize cases and review the status of a case sent for abstraction. Coordinators also ensure key committee documents, such as the policies and procedures, are updated and implemented. In addition, they may be responsible for disseminating findings from review deliberations.
Database managers can help by ensuring that the data strategy of the MMRC adheres to the jurisdiction’s data management policies. Epidemiologists may provide data analysis support for developing products from the reviews, such as fact sheets and reports. In most cases, these individuals are not exclusively dedicated to the review but assist the review among their other job duties.