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Alone, we can do so little. Together, we can do so much. Arkansas legislature has prioritized initiatives to improve health outcomes for mothers and their babies. This much-needed focus — Arkansas has the highest maternal mortality rate in the nation — will undoubtedly bring about change statewide. With support, structure, and collaborative expertise from the Arkansas Perinatal Quality Collaborative (ARPQC), birthing hospitals can shift from working independently from one another to joining a network of experts, policymakers, and teams working toward the same goal to improve maternal healthcare in the state.

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Electronic medical records (EMRs) have enhanced patient care through efficient information exchange. However, with over 60 different types of EMRs in the Arkansas healthcare system, patient information can be difficult to share from setting to setting. The State Health Alliance for Records Exchange (SHARE) has enhanced efficient information sharing statewide, allowing providers to access specific patient information whenever they need it. Anne Santifer, Executive Director of SHARE, and Justin Villines, HIT Policy Director for SHARE, recently went on AFMC TV to discuss SHARE’s impact on healthcare delivery in Arkansas.

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Some mental health conditions prove more challenging to manage than others. Treatment-resistant depression is a particularly stubborn condition, often requiring unique therapeutic strategies to manage. Dr. Lou Ann Eads is the program director of geriatric psychiatry residency and the program director for interventional psychiatry at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). Dr. Eads is an expert in treating anxiety disorders, depression, Alzheimer’s, and dementia, and what she calls treatment-resistant depression. She recently went on AFMC TV to help shed some light on this complex issue.

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Today, we’re witnessing a change in how the world views mental health. As society changes its views on mental health, we’re learning more about how to address stigma, choose treatments, and decide what’s best for children. Ladeana Bell, a licensed psychological examiner and AFMC outreach specialist, discusses the latest trends in mental health and what we can learn from the newest discussions and hot topics.

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As the healthcare industry continues to learn from and adapt to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Arkansas Hospital Association (AHA) has maintained its advocacy and support for the state’s hospitals and the communities they serve. High costs of supplies, labor, and pharmaceuticals combined with near-stagnant reimbursement rates have challenged hospitals, especially in rural Arkansas. Nonetheless, AHA has implemented programs and initiatives to ensure Arkansas hospitals continue to provide high-quality care to their patients. Bo Ryall, AHA president and CEO, recently visited with us on AFMC TV to discuss these programs.

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Recent provisional data from the CDC’s National Vital Statistics System reveals that in 2022, Arkansas’ cesarean delivery rate is above the national average of 32.2%. Many cesarean deliveries are unnecessary, causing women to experience postpartum stress, trauma, and morbidities that could be prevented with the right information and support. Too few women have the information they need to make an informed decision about their delivery options. Trained and Certified Doulas, like those at Ujima Maternity Network in Conway, can provide the education and support women need to make an empowered and informed decision about their health and the well-being of their unborn baby. 

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Eldrina Easterly

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Chris Hughes

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