So you have you may have seen the numerous requests for data collection forms (as well as the running contest to submit yours by 6/15 and be entered to win the awesome doula bag of goodies here) We thought it might be helpful to know a little more about what is behind the request and why it is so important to submit these for every birth, every time. 

  1. What are the data collection forms? This form is a very simple collection tool similar in vein to what all profession/professional organizations use to collect data, specifically for PALS on births you attend. It asks for things like the length of labor, how many points of contact you had with the family, where thebirth occurred, a list of common complications, general information about the birth, etc.
  2. Wouldn’t a broader and more thorough collection of data be better? YES! It is probably that a more extensive version will be a required reporting element under state guidance from the HealthCare Authority/Department of Health for doulas seeking reimbursement for services under Medicaid, but that isn’t where we are right now.
  3. Who needs to complete these? Truthfully? We need these from EVERY practicing PALS doula.
  4. Why are we collecting this info? This. This is the BIG one, the WHY. PALS Doulas currently represents close to 130 doulas actively supporting families in the greater Puget Sound area. But we have almost NO DATA to back this up. Are we actively working? How many families? How many doulas/hours of labor support do we represent when talking about equitable and sustainable reimbursement rates? If we go based on the current submitted data, we are talking about some 130 doulas supporting 30-something clients in the last calendar year. But if we had more accurate numbers (Let’s say each doula provides support for an average of 3 clients a month x 12 months x 130 doulas = 1080+ families. That’s a BIG difference for representation). Check out the Doulas for All June 2020 update around what the reporting element under state HCA/DOH feels is a ‘reasonable’ reimbursement rates…
  5. How does this help PALS/you as a doula? We NEED these forms to compile loose data on the number of doulas supporting families as well as some of the outcomes that doula support specifically benefits.
  6. What about confidentiality? No specific client identifying information is being requested, nor would we ask for it (also, see below)! 
  7. These aren’t really required, why should I submit them? Well, technically the opposite is true. Check out the below excerpt from the Standards of Practice:
IV. Record Keeping
A. Documentation. The Certified Doula maintains clear and accurate records of each client relationship and birth. While not currently bound by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), PALS Doulas recommends adhering to the privacy practices set out in HIPAA .
B. Data Collection. The Doula will collect data on each birth attended and submit that data to PALS. The data is used for doula advocacy, statistics, and marketing.

We hope this answers some basic questions. This form is available from the website for electronic submission, or you can download, print, and mail it in (but we’d rather the electronic version! (For the online entry or to print the form visit: https://palsdoulas.org/resources in the certification forms tab)