The Leapfrog Group’s annual list of Top Hospitals was announced on December 4th in Baltimore, Maryland and included Northwest Community Healthcare in Arlington Heights, IL. The announcement came at Leapfrog’s Annual Meeting, focusing on transparency as the key to improved hospital safety, and Top Hospital Awards.
“It is always rewarding to be recognized for achieving our goal of delivering the highest quality care for our patients who place their trust in our hospital and medical professionals,” said Bruce Crowther, President and CEO of Northwest Community Healthcare.
“The Leapfrog Top Hospital distinction is by far the most competitive award a hospital can receive. Leapfrog holds hospitals to the highest standards on behalf of our purchaser members and their employees. By achieving the Top Hospital accolade, Northwest Community Healthcare has demonstrated exemplary performance across all areas of quality and patient safety that are analyzed on the Leapfrog Hospital Survey. This hospital stands out as one consistently providing safe, high quality care, and I would be comfortable sending my family to Northwest Community Healthcare for care,” said Leah Binder, President & CEO of The Leapfrog Group.
Northwest Community Healthcare was selected as a Top Hospital out of nearly 1200 hospitals participating in The Leapfrog Group’s annual survey. This year, the Top Rural Hospital list includes a record 11 hospitals. Other hospitals reaching this achievement include academic medical centers, teaching hospitals, children’s hospitals, and community hospitals in rural, suburban and urban settings. The selection is based on the results of the Leapfrog Group’s annual hospital survey, which measures hospitals’ performance on patient safety and quality, focusing on three critical areas of hospital care: how patients fare, resource use, and management structures in place to prevent errors. The results of the survey are posted on a website (http://www.leapfroggroup.org/cp) open to patients and families, the public, employers, and other purchasers of healthcare.
As a 2012 Top Hospital, Northwest Community Healthcare met the following standards for safe, high quality care:
I. A hospital must fully meet Leapfrog’s standard for Preventing Medication Errors (CPOE)
Research estimates that more than one million serious medication errors occur each year in U.S. hospitals, with 7,000 deaths annually from adverse drug events (ADEs). In addition to the human price paid, each ADE adds $2,000 on average to the cost of a hospitalization. This translates to more than $7.5 billion per year nationwide in hospital costs alone. CPOE systems can reduce the number of ADEs by up to 88%, preventing three million serious medication errors in the U.S. each year.
Leapfrog’s standard for Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) measures the extent to which a hospital has adopted CPOE, and whether decision-support tools in the CPOE system are working effectively. To fully meet this standard, physicians must enter at least 75% of medication orders through a CPOE system; and demonstrate, via a test, that their inpatient CPOE system can alert physicians to at least 50% of common, serious prescribing errors.
II. A hospital must fully meet Leapfrog’s standard for ICU Physician Staffing (IPS)
Mortality rates are significantly lower in hospitals with ICUs managed exclusively by board-certified intensivists (physicians trained in critical care medicine). Research has shown that in ICUs where intensivists manage or co-manage all patients, there is a 30% reduction in overall hospital mortality and a 40% reduction in ICU mortality.
Hospitals fulfilling Leapfrog’s standard for ICU Physician Staffing must operate adult and/or pediatric ICUs that are managed or co-managed by intensivists who: a) Are present during daytime hours and provide clinical care exclusively in the ICU and, b) When not present on site or via telemedicine, return pages at least 95% of the time, (i) within five minutes and (ii) arranges for a certified physician or physician extender to reach ICU patients within five minutes.
III. A hospital must fully meet Leapfrog’s standards for high-risk surgeries and procedures
(Hospitals must achieve a score of “fully meets” for 50% of the surgeries or procedures that apply)
Research indicates that a patient’s risk of dying is reduced by approximately two to four times, depending on the high-risk procedure, if care is obtained in hospitals that meet Leapfrog’s standards.i
Hospitals fulfilling Leapfrog’s standards for high-risk surgeries and procedures (heart bypass, heart angioplasty, aortic valve replacement, abdominal aortic aneurism repair, bariatric surgery, esophogectomy, pancreatectomy, and high-risk newborn deliveries) have met Leapfrog’s robust volume, processes of care, and outcomes standards. The Leapfrog website provides specific details about these performance measures and the scoring (www.leapfroggroup.org).
In June 2012, the American Hospital Association released a statement the Leapfrog survey used unreliable measures, significant variations in weighted measures, and significant errors in the data.
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