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New Hospital Safety Scores Report Shows Modest Patient Safety Improvements

October 29, 2015
by Heather Landi
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The Leapfrog Group released its Fall 2015 Hospital Safety Score report showing consistent top safety performance by 133 “straight A” hospitals, while patient safety improvements across the board were more modest.

The Hospital Safety Scores are released twice a year and assign letter grades – A, B, C, D and F – to 2,530 hospitals in the U.S. The grades are calculated by top patient safety experts and are peer-reviewed and fully transparent to the public. The Hospital Safety Score includes 28 measures which are divided into two domains, process/structural measures and outcome measures.

Of the 2,530 hospitals issued a Hospital Safety Score, 773 earned an A (down from the 782 in spring 2015), 724 earned a B (up from 719), 866 earned a C (up from 859), and 133 earned a D (down from 143). And the latest scores indicate that 34 hospitals earned an F grade, which is up from 20 hospitals from the Spring 2015 Scores.

For the fourth time in a row, Maine claimed the No. 1 spot for the state with the highest percentage of A hospitals, with nearly 69 percent of its hospitals receiving an A.

Across all hospitals scored, hospital performance improved on eight safety measures, including process measures such as use of computerized prescriber order entry (CPOE) systems and catheter removal as well as outcome measures such as central line infections, postoperative wound dehiscence and accidental puncture or laceration.

There were, however, six measures there hospital performance declined compared to the Spring 2015 scores. Across the board, hospitals are performing worse on critical measures like foreign objects left in after surgery as well as falls and trauma, postoperative respiratory failure and prevention of ventilator associated complications.

Since the launch of the Hospital Safety Score in 2012, 133 hospitals have earned an “A” in each of the twice-annual updates of the Score—approximately 5 percent of all graded hospitals.

“Taking a deeper look at the 133 ‘Straight A’ hospitals reveals a diverse group, similar only in their consistent commitment to patient safety. Hospitals from across the country, with 100 beds to over 750 beds, non-profit and for-profit alike received this top honor,” Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group, said in a statement. “No matter how large or small, no matter what kind of community they serve, all hospitals have the potential to give their patients this high level of safe care.”

The Hospital Safety Scores utilize national performance measures from the Leapfrog Hospital Survey, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to produce a single composite score that represents a hospital’s overall performance in keeping patients safe from preventable harm and medical errors. In addition, secondary data from the American Hospital Association’s Annual Survey and Health Information Technology Supplement was used to give hospitals as much credit as possible towards their safety scores, according to The Leapfrog Group.

Individual hospital scores can be found here.

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