Patient Safety Organization Releases its 2009 List of Best Hospitals

The Leapfrog Group, a patient safety and quality advocacy group, has released its determination of the best hospitals in the country. The list includes urban hospitals, rural hospitals and pediatric hospitals. Leapfrog listed 45 healthcare institutions committed to patient safety and quality of care. Among those hospitals listed in the rural category, two Maine hospitals were cited-Stephens Memorial Hospital in Norway and Waldo County General Hospital in Belfast Maine. Children’s Hospital in Boston was listed as one of the best in the pediatric category.
The Leapfrog Group survey of hospitals is the only national, public comparison of hospitals on key issues such as mortality rates, rates of infection, safety practices and measures of efficiency. The Leapfrog survey has received independent recognition for its work and advocacy of patient safety and quality of care. In a 2008 study performed by Harvard Medical School’s Dr. Ashish Jha and published in the Journal of the Joint Commission, Leapfrog hospitals had lower mortality rates and better quality of care than those hospitals not participating in the Leapfrog survey.
In order for an urban hospital to be listed as one of the best by Leapfrog, it must meet the following criteria:
1)Fully meet Leapfrog standards for implementing computer physician order entry (CPOE) systems (that have been shown to reduce medication errors by up to 85%), and for passing Leapfrog’s test of their system;
2)Fully meet stringent performance standards for complex, high-risk procedures (such as heart bypass surgery) done in that particular hospital;
3)Fully meet standards for staffing the ICU, shown to reduce mortality by 40% or more;
4)Score in the top decile in the country for efficiency – scored by the Leapfrog Hospital Recognition Program incorporating quality outcomes, length of stay, readmission rates, and incidence of hospital acquired conditions and infections. The efficiency standard applies to heart bypass surgery, heart angioplasty, heart attack and pneumonia patients.