Improving clinical practice by better use of data: Smoking in pregnancy

Publication authors

McCullough B, Walker S, Lee J, Prady S, Small N


Midwives collect considerable amounts of data as part of their routine practice. They also have access to extensive information about patients and, more generally, about effective interventions. An investigation of data related to smoking in pregnancy was undertaken in one UK NHS Trust. The brief was to identify what data were collected, how these data were transmitted to appropriate staff and how these data were used to inform practice. In addition, evidence on smoking in pregnancy in the research literature was reviewed and examples of best practice in other Trusts sought. A wide range of issues inhibiting optimal use of data were identified and recommendations for changes made. As well as changes in approaches to data use and collection, this led to changes in clinical practice. Specifically, this research supported moving from ascertaining
maternal smoking behaviour via asking questions to undertaking carbon
monoxide tests as routine antenatal practice.