Hypertension in Pregnancy Initiative in Cali, Colombia


The Florida Perinatal Quality Collaborative’s Hypertension in Pregnancy (HIP) Initiative has 33 hospitals involved working to treat all women who present with a blood pressure of 160/110 (either reading) within one hour of two elevated measurements. Because Florida’s ACOG District XII, a main supporter of FPQC quality improvement (QI) projects, also encompasses the country of Colombia, one of the participating hospitals was the Hospital Universitario del Valle in Cali, Colombia. 

Dr. Sandra Botero and her team members from this University Hospital in Cali flew to Orlando in Fall of 2015 to attend the in-person kick-off meeting! The Cali team participated in the monthly webinar calls, submitted data, and implemented many changes in their hospital and clinics.

District XII Chair Karen Harris, MD was fortunate to visit the Hospital Universitario Del Valle (HUV) in April and do a site visit consultation similar to those she has done with participating Florida hospitals. Their data on quality improvement and the success in treating all women within one hour of presenting with a hypertensive crisis was the same as our participating hospitals in Florida. This is amazing considering the HUV was in severe financial crisis last year and nearly closed. Many maternity beds were eliminated as part of the austerity measures and vital medications were out of stock. Showing the dedication of their physicians and residents, the doctors purchased oral nifedipine themselves, and dispensed the critically needed medication. Patient’s lives were saved!

Karen Harris, MD and the team at Hospital Universitario del Valle in Cali, Colombia. Photo courtesy of Karen Harris.


Prior to the QI project, most patients were not followed up within 3 to 7 days after discharge. Dr. Botero and her staff were able to create a system so that now nearly 50% of the patients have a follow up appointment on time. They have seen several readmissions with this new policy resulting in a reduction in severe maternal morbidity.

I am so pleased that HUV in Cali, Colombia participated in our HTN in Pregnancy project. We were hesitant at first to work with an international group on QI, but now see how our Florida initiatives can successfully be extended globally.  I look forward to having our colleagues in Colombia participate in another QI project.

– Dr. Karen Harris

Dr. Harris brought The Preeclampsia Foundation’s Spanish brochures with her for distribution by HUV. The hospital developed their own preeclampsia brochure as well. An additional big success was getting patient education materials to all patients at discharge. The doctors there are part of the Colombian Federation, FECOLSOG, which is like ACOG.

Our participation in this QI project has been very productive for all our staff, but especially for our patients and their families. We know there is  still a long road ahead, and we are determined to go along all the way.

– Dr. Sandra Botero

Photo courtesy of Karen Harris