Frequently Asked Questions
What is Ohio SOARS?
The Ohio Study of Associated Risk of Stillbirth (Ohio SOARS) is a new state survey led by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and the Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM). The development of SOARS was initiated in 2019, and the survey will take place in 2020 and occur annually. SOARS will provide critical, timely, and relevant population-based data to better understand maternal experiences and behaviors prior to, during, and immediately following pregnancy among women who have recently experienced a fetal death.
Will my answers be kept private?
Yes. All answers are kept completely private to the extent permitted by law. All answers given on the questionnaires will be grouped together to give us information on Ohio mothers who have experienced a fetal death. In reports from this survey, no woman will be identified by name.
How was I chosen to participate in SOARS?
The methodology for SOARS is similar to the Ohio Pregnancy Assessment Survey (OPAS) and the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS), with the difference being that OPAS and PRAMS survey a sample of Ohio women with a live birth. SOARS will survey all women who experienced a stillbirth using information from fetal death certificates provided by the Ohio Department of Health Office of Vital Statistics. This research has been approved by ODH’s Institutional Review Board, which reviews human subject research proposals to ensure risks have been minimized and the potential for benefit has been maximized before human subjects participate in research.
Like OPAS and PRAMS, SOARS will contact women by mail and telephone starting at 2-4 months after a reported fetal death. SOARS data will provide information not available from other sources about pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, and the first few months after a fetal death.
How does SOARS work?
Each month, women who experienced a stillbirth in the prior 2-4 months will be asked to participate in the survey. The SOARS survey will be provided in two ways: web and paper surveys. Two to four months after delivery a condolence card is mailed to each woman. The SOARS questionnaire weblink is mailed a week later with a gift and family support resources. A reminder letter is sent prior to a paper version of the survey packet being mailed. Telephone reminders are attempted if no contact has been made after each of the prior mailings.
Is it really important that I answer these questions?
Yes! It is important to have everyone's answers. Every pregnancy is different. To get a better overall picture of the health of mothers and babies in Ohio, we would like each mother to answer the questions. From the information given, we may be able to improve health care for women and babies in Ohio. We need to know what went right as well as what went wrong during each pregnancy.
Some of the questions don't seem related to healthcare- why are they asked?
Many things in a mother’s life may affect her health before, during, and after pregnancy beyond the actual health care she receives. These questions ask about social conditions that may affect health outcomes.
How can SOARS data be used?
SOARS data will be used to identify groups of women at high risk for health problems, to monitor changes in health status, and to measure progress towards goals in improving the health of Ohio mothers and infants. Additionally, SOARS data will be available by request for researchers to investigate and learn more about fetal mortality in Ohio.
What information does SOARS collect?
The Ohio SOARS instrument was developed jointly by ODH, Ohio Department of Medicaid, and the Ohio SOARS Advisory Committee. The questionnaire consists of questions developed to address Ohio’s particular data needs.
The questionnaire covers the following topics:
- Prenatal and postnatal care
- Social support and stress
- Grief and bereavement support
- Services offered by hospitals after a stillbirth occurs
- Tests that may have been offered after the stillbirth
- Use of alcohol, tobacco and e-cigarettes
- Physical abuse
- Chronic health conditions of the mother
- Health insurance coverage
What is FIMR and how is it different than SOARS?
Fetal and Infant Mortality Review (FIMR) is an evidence-based process to examine fetal and infant deaths. FIMR is a community-owned and action-oriented process to improve service systems and resources for women, infants and families and exists in all 9 of the Ohio Equity Institute (OEI) counties (Butler, Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Lucas, Mahoning, Dayton/Montgomery, Stark, and Summit).If you live in one of these counties, you may be contacted by your local Fetal and Infant Mortality Review (FIMR) team to complete an in-person maternal interview. This is separate from the SOARS survey, but is equally important to gain insight into your experiences before and during pregnancy, and after your loss. Your local FIMR team will use this information to inform fetal and infant death reviews and promote change within your community.
What if I want to ask more questions about SOARS?
If you have any questions or would like additional information about Ohio SOARS, please contact project director: Andrea Arendt at Andrea.Arendt@odh.oho.gov or 614-644-0190.