Low safety scores at some of nations best-known hospitals

There are a lot of factors that could make a hospital unsafe. Still, we turn to hospitals to provide care when we are sick, not to cause injury. We may assume that hospitals in Illinois and across the U.S. are always striving to improve their level of care. But are they?

A new Hospital Safety Score released by The Leapfrog Group, a healthcare quality watchdog, reports that some of the nation’s best-known hospitals received poor grades on patient safety. The group based scores on preventable hospital conditions including infections, medication mix-ups, acquired injuries such as bedsores, and other, potentially fatal sources of harm.

Hospitals were given scores based on a letter grade system from A-F and some major medical centers received grades of C or lower. Leapfrog has stated that its board is frustrated with the lack of progress in improving patient safety, despite significant industry efforts that have taken place over the past decade. However, representatives at the hospitals have responded with criticism against Leapfrog and its methodology.

Opponents of Leapfrog’s evaluation process say they used outdated information, didn’t accurately reflect their patient-safety profiles, and provided results that are confusing for consumers. One hospital representative called the results “an incomplete and imperfect snapshot,” saying much of the analysis was, “based on outdated information and disparate sources.”

The low scores of some hospitals may be something to worry about. However, the inability for professionals in the industry to work together toward better patient care seems to be the biggest concern. As hospitals work to help patients get better shouldn’t they be working toward making themselves better, too?

Source: The Wall Street Journal, “Big Hospitals Get-and Dispute-Poor Patient-safety Grades from Leapfrog,” Laura Landro, June 7, 2012

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