Leapfrog Group: Hospital Patient Experience, Safety Measures Improve

The nonprofit Leapfrog Group, which researches patient safety, said measures related to patient experience showed significant signs of improvement since fall 2023, and preventable healthcare-associated infections show a drop. sustained after unprecedented rates during the height of the pandemic.

Leapfrog Group has launched its Spring 2024 Hospital Safety Grades, assigning an “A”, “B”, “C”, “D” or “F” to almost 3,000 general hospitals for their effectiveness in preventing medical errors, accidents and infections.

Leapfrog Group also reports top patient safety performance by state and, for the first time, by metropolitan area based on the highest percentage of “A” hospitals. In spring 2024, Utah is ranked No. 1 among states for the second consecutive cycle. Virginia is second and New Jersey is third. The three major metropolitan areas are Allentown (Pennsylvania), Winston-Salem (North Carolina), and New Orleans (Louisiana).

“It is very difficult to influence the patient experience without providing better care, so these findings are encouraging,” Leah Binder, president and CEO of Leapfrog Group, said in a statement. “We were also pleased to see the decline in preventable infections, which cause terrible suffering and sometimes death. When we see these positive trends, we see lives saved, and that is rewarding.”

Patient experience is measured through the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey, which the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) uses to publicly report patient perspectives on the hospital care.

Of the more than 30 measures used to generate hospital safety ratings, Leapfrog Group reports five patient experience measures that have a direct impact on patient safety outcomes:
• Nursing communication
• Communication with the doctor
• Responsiveness of hospital staff
• Communication about medications
• Discharge information

Since the start of the pandemic, the patient experience has worsened, the organization said. This spring has shown the first sign of improvement: all measures have improved significantly since fall 2023, but are still well below pre-pandemic levels.

Since Leapfrog reported hospital safety ratings in fall 2022, when HAI rates reached their highest peak since 2016, 92 percent of hospitals have improved their performance in at least one of three preventable dangerous infections. Average HAI scores have decreased dramatically:
• Central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI) decreased by 34 percent;
• Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI) decreased by 30 percent; and
• Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) decreased by 30 percent.

“While today’s results are promising, patient safety remains a crisis-level danger in healthcare. Some hospitals are much better than others at protecting patients from harm, and that’s why “We make the Hospital Safety Grade available to the public and encourage all hospitals to pay more attention to safety,” added Binder. According to a summary of peer-reviewed research published in the BMJ, an estimated 250,000 people die each year from it. preventable errors and infections in hospitals, making patient safety issues the third leading cause of death in the United States.

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