Safety scores based on 26 measures

The Leapfrog Group updated its Hospital Safety Scores in November 2012, five months after the first scores were released. More than half of the hospitals received the same score as in June 2012, and 23% earned a higher grade.

Nineteen percent earned a lower grade, and some of the hospitals that did not fare well complain that the scores are not valid. Predictably, the hospitals scoring well tend not to find fault. The scores are available to the public at http://www.hospitalsafetyscore.org.

The latest update to the Hospital Safety Score shows that hospitals are making some progress, but many still have a long way to go to reliably deliver safe healthcare, says Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group.

“Everybody has a role in improving this terrible problem with safety in American hospitals,” Binder says. “Consumers, patients, families of patients, employers, unions, and hospitals themselves can all make a difference if we resolve here and now to make patient safety a national priority.”

While there are several other hospital ratings in the market, many of which use Leapfrog data for their calculations, Binder says the Hospital Safety Score is unique in that it is offered free to the public, along with a full analysis of the data and methodology used to calculate each individual hospital’s Hospital Safety Score. The Hospital Safety Score relies on the advice of the nation’s foremost patient safety experts, she says, and their participation is a voluntary contribution to Leapfrog’s nonprofit mission.

Calculated under the guidance of The Leapfrog Group’s nine-member Blue Ribbon Expert Panel, the Hospital Safety Score uses 26 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to produce a single score representing a hospital’s overall success in keeping patients safe from infections, injuries, and medical and medication errors.

These were some of the key findings from the latest Leapfrog report:

  • Of the 2,618 general hospitals issued a Hospital Safety Score, 790 earned an “A,” 678 earned a “B,” 1,004 earned a “C,” 121 earned a “D” and 25 earned an “F.”
  • 58% of hospitals maintained the same grade level as they had in the scores issued in June 2012. Another 34% of hospitals changed by one grade level (some higher, some lower). About 8% of hospitals showed more dramatic change by moving two grade levels or more up or down.
  • A wide range of hospitals earned “A’s,” with no one class of hospitals (such as teaching hospitals or public hospitals) dominating among those showing the highest safety scores. Hospitals earning an “A” include academic medical centers New York Presbyterian Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Mayo Clinic. Many rural hospitals earned an “A,” including Geisinger Medical Center and Blessing Hospital.
  • Hospitals with myriad national accolades, such as Massachusetts General Hospital, Duke University Hospital, and Cleveland Clinic Florida each earned an “A.”
  • “A” scores also were earned by hospitals serving highly vulnerable, impoverished, and/or health-challenged populations, such as Bellevue Hospital Center and Detroit Receiving Hospital.
  • In analyzing statewide performance, Massachusetts and Maine showed outstanding hospital safety results, with 83% of Massachusetts hospitals and 80% of hospitals in Maine awarded “A’s.