Leapfrog reports hospital safety has improved pre-COVID-19

According to a report by the Leapfrog Group released on Wednesday, the hospital sector has made significant progress in reducing side effects and developing a safety culture over the past decade.

Pre-COVID-19 data show promising improvements in hospital-acquired infection rates. Since 2012, when the Leapfrog Group began classifying hospitals according to these indicators, through 2019, the number of cases of bloodstream infections associated with the central pathways has decreased by 43%, MRSA cases by 22%, and Clostridioides difficile cases by 8 %. decreased by 27.1%, and cases of unintentional leaving of objects in the bodies of patients after operations decreased by 28.9%.

“We were pleasantly surprised to see a significant improvement in safety where we measured it,” said Leapfrog Group President and CEO Lea Binder. “We are cautiously optimistic that progress has been made in improving patient safety over the past decade.” However, strains of COVID-19 may have reversed these gains. “My main concern is what happened during the pandemic, where we definitely saw some reversal of these trends,” she said.

According to Binder, transparency has been one of the most important elements in improving security. For example, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid publicly report on safety measures in hospitals, which provides a powerful incentive for health systems to improve their work, she said.

The Leapfrog Group’s findings are consistent with other studies. A 2022 JAMA study in 3,156 US hospitals found a statistically significant reduction in the annual rate of hospital-acquired adverse events in adult patients hospitalized for acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, pneumonia, and major surgery between 2010 and 2019.

The Leapfrog Group reports that between 2012 and 2022, average hospital performance improved in terms of intensive care physician staffing, safety leadership and safety measurement, feedback and intervention.

Between 2012 and 2022, the adoption of computerized order entry by vendors, which is used to reduce common medication errors, increased seven-fold. Federal financial support for vendors implementing electronic health records is the most likely reason why hospitals have been able to make such progress, Binder said.

In a new report by the Leapfrog Group, 30% of hospitals are rated A, 28% B, 36% C, 6% D and 1% F. The results are similar to those of the organization’s last previous report.

New Hampshire is home to the largest proportion of hospitals, 53.8%, with “A” grades at the latest. Virginia and Utah followed with 52.1% and 51.9% of hospitals at the “A” level, respectively. North Dakota, Vermont, and the District of Columbia fared the worst on this measure, with no hospitals receiving an A rating.

Compared to fall 2021, 22.1% of hospitals received lower safety scores, 18.7% improved, and 59.2% remained unchanged.

Problems caused by the pandemic, such as staff shortages and an influx of patients requiring central and urinary catheters, have greatly impacted hospitals’ ability to maintain quality improvement, said Akin Demekhin, senior director of quality policy and patient safety at American Hospital. Association. Under these aggravated circumstances, hospitals may not have been able to effectively prevent infections, he said.

“Hospitals are really doubling down and refocusing their efforts to provide the safest, highest quality and fairest care possible,” Demekhin said.

Typically, states with the best performing hospitals benefit from health care leaders and government officials who prioritize safety and quality, Binder said. In New Jersey, which consistently ranks in the top 10, she said, lawmakers listen to hospital safety ratings and scrutinize patient safety, while health care systems promote their safety ratings in their communities. Neighboring New York, ranked 39th, doesn’t have those characteristics, she said.

Hospitals will continue to investigate the reasons for changing infection rates and will strive to maintain successes and address shortcomings, Demekhin said. Some current strategies to mitigate side effects include using antibiotic prudent use programs and using electronic health records to analyze safety trends, he said.

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