08/16/18   |   By

Who Rates Hospitals for Safety, and What Standards Do They Use?

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The 1999 Institute of Medicine report To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System revolutionized hospital safety ratings. This landmark report revealed that medical errors result in up to 98,000 deaths every year. This estimate suggests that more Americans die due to hospitals than in car crashes.

Since the report’s publication, several organizations have doubled down their efforts to improve public awareness of hospital safety. The following are among the most important systems for rating and reviewing hospitals:

Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades

Every year, The Leapfrog Group consolidates a variety of medical stats (along with feedback from experts) to provide a single score for each hospital. This composite score takes into account:

  • Measurements assessing processes of care, such as antibiotic administration or bilirubin screening for newborns.
  • Hospital structure, such as the presence of a strong electronic medical record system.
  • Outcomes, such as the rate of hospital-acquired illnesses and injuries.

From nurse communication to hand-washing initiatives, little is left unexamined in Leapfrog’s quest for better-informed patients. The 2017 Hospital Safety Grades highlighted over 2,600 hospitals. Of these, just 15 earned an F, while 832 achieved A grades.

Consumer Reports

Like Leapfrog, Consumer Reports regularly releases comprehensive hospital ratings, taking both patient experiences and federal data into account. Specifically, Consumer Reports’ safety data examines:

  • Central-line (catheter) associated bloodstream infections
  • Surgical-site infections
  • Clostridium difficile (C. diff.) infections
  • Discharge instructions
  • Number of hospital readmissions
  • Hospital hygiene
  • Surgical techniques during bypass surgery

Safety grades provide valuable insight into hospital practices and outcomes. They are a vital tool for choosing the best health care provider possible.

Did a recent visit to the hospital leave you ill or injured? Contact our Washington, D.C. medical malpractice attorneys today to learn how you can secure the compensation you deserve.

Regan Zambri Long
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