News | April 15, 2009

Leapfrog Finds Hospitals Lacking in Quality Standards

April 15, 2009 - Only 7 percent of hospitals fully meet Leapfrog medication error prevention (CPOE) standards, and low percentages of hospitals are fully meeting mortality standards, according to the 2008 Leapfrog Hospital Survey, released today.

The survey found that few hospitals meet standards for first national measures of hospital efficiency for heart attack care, bypass surgery, heart angioplasty and pneumonia.

"As the Obama administration and Congress consider healthcare reform options, it is clear we have a long way to go to achieve hospital quality and cost-effectiveness worthy of the nation's $2.3 trillion annual investment," said Leapfrog CEO Leah Binder. "According to our data, a majority of hospitals have significant safety and efficiency deficits.

"Unfortunately, few hospitals are meeting Leapfrog's newly established efficiency measure standards- the first such data available in the public domain," said Binder.

Among surveyed hospitals, efficiency standards - defined as highest quality and lowest resource use - are met by only 24 percent of hospitals for heart bypass surgery, 21 percent for heart angioplasty, 14 percent for heart attack care and 14 percent for pneumonia care.

Relatively low percentages of reporting hospitals are fully meeting volume and risk-adjusted mortality standards, or adhering to nationally endorsed process measures for eight high risk procedures, where following nationally endorsed and evidence-based guidelines is known to save lives:

- 43% for heart bypass surgery
- 35% for heart angioplasty
- 32% for high-risk deliveries
- 23% for pancreatic resection
- 16% for bariatric surgery
- 15% for esophagectomy
- 7% for aortic valve replacement
- 5% for aortic abdominal aneurysm repair

"Progress on patient safety is moving too slowly," said Binder. Consumers and purchasers of healthcare want hospitals to implement safety standards and procedures known to improve quality and reduce unnecessary injury and death. The safety goals Leapfrog promotes are achievable. More hospitals should be meeting the Leapfrog standards for common and high risk procedures."

The voluntary Leapfrog Hospital Survey results are as of December 31, 2008, and include 1,276 hospitals in 37 major U.S. metropolitan areas, representing 48 percent of the urban, general acute-care hospitals (53 percent of hospital beds in these areas),

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