Your description of one of the “best” hospitals around is frightening. I have never encountered anything like what you described from a full range of hospitals – from small community hospitals to large teaching hospitals. One place called their service “the pampered pregnancy”. Birthing rooms were more like suites as were recovery rooms. Dads were given roll-away beds and moms would get a mani-pedi. Most places offer education before, during and after the hospital stay.
One of the latest crazes in hospitals is positive deviance. It is just a fancy word for benchmarking but it is a part of their lingo and would make them comfortable using their language if you approach hospitals with any ideas. If you want acceptance of your ideas, you will have to find a champion somewhere in the hospital. This will be someone who wants to improve the system like yourself and will go to battle with your ideas. You cannot go it alone, no one will listen to an outsider.
There is not of pressure on hospitals to increase their user experience, they are just trying to keep their patients alive and not wind up in a sea of red ink. Mayo has some deep pockets and does spend money on UX. First it was called the SPARC lab and now it is called the Center for Innovation and Health Care Transformation. Fancy, huh? You could contact them to see if they have done any work in obstetrics.
If you want to focus on patient safety, AHRQ is the place to start. They have 4 patient safety indicators for obstetrics alone. They are:
• Birth trauma – injury to neonate (PSI 17)
• Obstetric trauma – vaginal delivery with instrument (PSI 18)
• Obstetric trauma – vaginal delivery without instrument (PSI 19)
• Obstetric trauma – cesarean delivery (PSI 20)
Again, using a good design process would find improvements to patient safety in no time. In fact there is a new book out called “Safe Patients, Smart Hospitals: How One Doctor’s Checklist Can Help Us Change Health Care from the Inside Out,” by Dr. Peter Provonost. He used a good design process to improve patient safety. And to show how sad the healthcare industry is, his process is lauded as a great innovation, like it is something “new”. I’m just happy to see other areas adopting our methodology.
I mention the book though because if you are serious about making a change to the maternity ward, the book describes what you will need to do. You can come up with the world’s greatest ideas, but you will have to prove it, with real quantitative results. And even with your peer-reviewed research in hand, you will face a wall of skepticism. A lot of time and energy will be needed on your part, but the satisfaction of doing something important is immeasurable. Good luck.
As for you list, how about cable/satellite TV? Why do I pay for channels I don’t want to watch? I don’t need or want 200 channels, I want the 20 I watch and don’t want to pay for the other 180.