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Leapfrog Group Releases New Hospital Safety Grades, Marking 10th Anniversary

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 16, 2022—Today, The Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit watchdog organization that advances patient safety in hospitals, released the fall 2022  results. This release marks the 10th anniversary of the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, which assigns a letter grade to nearly 3,000 U.S. general hospitals based on how well they protect patients from preventable medical errors, accidents, injuries, and infections. An analysis by The Leapfrog Group of data across the Hospital Safety Grade’s history suggests improvement in patient safety over time.

Measures used in the Hospital Safety Grade have changed over time, but measures that could be reliably tracked over the decade show a consistent pattern of better performance. For five of the outcome measures that can be tracked, these improvements saved an estimated more than 16,000 lives over the 10-year period.

Measures that have shown significant improvement over the decade include some never events, meaning medical events that should never happen. Two never events that both decreased by around 25% include incidents of falls and trauma and incidents of objects unintentionally left in a body after surgery.

There was also encouraging pre-pandemic progress on healthcare-associated infections, including:

  • Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) decreased by 22%
  • Central line-associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI) decreased by 43%
  • Clostridioides difficile infection (C. Diff) decreased by 8%

“Never in history have we seen across-the-board improvement in patient safety until this last decade, coinciding with the history of the Hospital Safety Grade,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “We salute hospitals for this milestone and encourage them to accelerate their hard work saving patient lives. For a long time, the health care community tried to improve safety, but progress stalled. The big difference over this decade is that for the first time, we publicly reported each hospital’s record on patient safety, and that galvanized the kind of change we all hoped for. It’s not enough change, but we are on the right track.”

Over the past decade, hospitals also demonstrated dramatic improvement in adoption of technology and staffing strategies that protect patients from preventable harm and death. That includes a nearly seven-fold increase in the adoption of computerized provider order entry (CPOE), which can reduce medication errors by more than 40%. Hospitals also improved on strategies to improve engagement of the nursing workforce and overall safety culture.

These improvements in patient safety align with other research, including a 2022 study in JAMA that found that the rates of preventable adverse events in hospitalized patients significantly declined for patients across a range of key patient safety measures—most of which are used in the Hospital Safety Grade—between 2010 and 2019.

Highlights from the fall 2022 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade include:

  • Thirty percent of hospitals received an "A," 28% received a "B," 36% received a "C," 6% received a "D," and 1% received an "F.”
  • The top ten states with the highest percentages of "A" hospitals are New Hampshire, Virginia, Utah, Colorado, Idaho, New Jersey, North Carolia, Maine, Pennsylvania, and Florida.
  • There were no “A” hospitals in the District of Columbia, North Dakota, or Vermont.

The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade is the only hospital ratings program based exclusively on hospital prevention of medical errors and harms to patients. The grading system is fully transparent and free to the public, and grades are updated biannually in the fall and in the spring.

For more information about the Hospital Safety Grade, including details on individual hospital grades and state rankings, please visit HospitalSafetyGrade.org.

 

About The Leapfrog Group

Founded in 2000 by large employers and other purchasers, The Leapfrog Group is a national nonprofit organization driving a movement for giant leaps for patient safety. The flagship Leapfrog Hospital Survey and new Leapfrog Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC) Survey collect and transparently report hospital and ASC performance, empowering purchasers to find the highest-value care and giving consumers the lifesaving information they need to make informed decisions. The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, Leapfrog's other main initiative, assigns letter grades to hospitals based on their record of patient safety, helping consumers protect themselves and their families from errors, injuries, accidents, and infections. For more, follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for our newsletter.