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Leapfrog releases hospital safety grades, says 1,000 patients a day still killed by medical errors

Though new safety grades show problems persist, hundreds of hospitals are excelling at prevention based on the latest Hospital Safety Grade

Bernie Monegain, Editor, Healthcare IT News

The Leapfrog Group on Wednesday released its Spring 2017 Hospital Safety Grade, highlighting hundreds of hospitals that are leading in preventing deadly medical errors at their facilities.

The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, the first and only national healthcare rating focused on errors, accidents and infections, assigns A through F letter grades to general acute-care hospitals.

Leapfrog rated 2,639 hospitals, and 823 hospitals earned an A, 706 earned a B, 933 earned a C, and 167 earned a D.

Unfortunately, 10 hospitals received an F grade.

[Also: See which hospitals earned an 'A' from Leapfrog]
[Also: See which hospitals earned an 'F' from Leapfrog]

The five states with the highest percentage of A hospitals in this rating are Maine, Hawaii, Oregon, Wisconsin and Idaho.

Maine is the only state to sustain its ranking as one of the top five states in percentage of A-graded hospitals since the Safety Grade began in 2012.

Over time there have been significant strides in improving patient safety, said Leapfrog CEO Leah Binder, pointing to a 21 percent decline in hospital-acquired conditions, increased adoption and improved functionality of computerized physician order entry systems, and millions of averted patient harms.

Still, 1,000 people a day are estimated to die from medical errors.

"When we launched the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade in 2012, our goal was to alert consumers to the hazards involved in a hospital stay and help them choose the safest option," said Binder in announcing the latest numbers.

"So far, we've been pleased with the increase in public awareness and hospitals' commitment to solving this terrible problem. But we need to accelerate the pace of change because too many people are still getting harmed or killed."

Binder said that 63 out of the more than 2,600 hospitals nationwide have achieved an "A" in every scoring update of the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade since its inception in 2012. One such "Straight A" hospital is Saint Anne's Hospital in Fall River, Mass.

Binder also highlighted Inova Health System in Northern Virginia, which over the last five years has used the safety grade as a tool to motivate care improvements.

[Also: Healthgrades says these hospitals are best when it comes to patient safety, patient experience]

Three of Inova's five hospitals have been  "A" performers. Of the three, two have sustained their 'A' grade since the Fall of 2013, and the third one has sustained an "A" grade since the Fall of 2014.

The other two Inova hospitals have made significant progress. For 2016, Inova also achieved a 30 percent reduction in hospital-acquired infections, a 19 percent increase in hand hygiene compliance, and it is now exceeding the national benchmark AHRQ patient safety, according to Inova Chief Medical Officer Loring Flint, MD.

Twitter: @Bernie_HITN

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