Newest Hospital Safety Scores Show Mixed Improvement

Some progress and a lot of room for improvement in the latest Hospital Safety Score report.

The latest Hospital Safety Score report shows key shifts among many hospitals on their rating for errors, injuries, accidents, and infections, according to The Leapfrog Group, which issues a twice-yearly report measuring hospital performance on 28 measures used to calculate grades that represent a hospital’s overall performance in keeping patients safe from preventable harm and medical error.

The 28 measures used to calculate patient safety grades include: air embolism; falls and trauma; pressure ulcer; iatrogenic pneumothorax; postoperative pulmonary embolism/deep vein thrombosis; and central line associated blood stream infection. On average, hospital performance improved on 8 measures, but average performance declined on 6 measures in the latest report.

The measure set comprises 2 domains: process/structural measures and outcome measures. Each domain represents 50% of the Hospital Safety Score. For process/structural measures, a higher score is always better because these are measures of compliance with best practices in patient care. For outcomes measures, a lower score is always better because these are measures of the incidence of harm experienced by patients.

The Fall 2015 update of the Hospital Safety Score shows a number of positive trends for certain hospital-acquired conditions and safety measures, but hospitals are performing worse on critical measures like foreign objects left in after surgery, the report found. Overall, performance on safe practices and process measures varied greatly.

From a total of 2540 hospitals included in the report, the report concluded the following:

  • 773 hospitals earned an “A” rating
  • 724 hospitals earned a “B” rating
  • 866 hospitals earned a “C” rating
  • 133 hospitals earned a “D” rating
  • 34 hospitals earned an “F” rating
  • For the fourth time in a row, Maine claimed the top spot for the state with the highest percentage of “A” hospitals (nearly 69% of its hospitals received an “A”)
  • Zero hospitals in the District of Columbia, Alaska, North Dakota, New Mexico, Vermont, or Wyoming received an “A” grade.

Since the launch of the rating in 2012, 133 hospitals have earned an “A” score in each of the twice-yearly updates of the Hospital Safety Score.

“Taking a deeper look at the 133 ‘Straight A’ hospitals reveals a diverse group, similar only in their consistent commitment to patient safety,” Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group, said in a statement. “Hospitals from across the country, with 100 beds to over 750 beds, nonprofit and for-profit alike, received this top honor.”

To view the report, visit http://www.hospitalsafetyscore.org.