Leapfrog releases 2013 annual survey results, gets record hospital participation

The Leapfrog Group released results from its 2013 annual survey today, examining key hospital safety and quality elements at a record 37 percent of hospitals across the country.

As the industry moves toward quality, value-based care, the results have never been more important. "The stakes couldn't be higher. Hospital errors remain the third leading cause of death in the U.S., so we want patients and purchasers to put safety first," Leah Binder, president and CEO of Leapfrog, said in an announcement.

From the 1,437 hospital respondents, Leapfrog found:

  • Many hospitals (43 percent) adopted computerized physician order entry systems that met Leapfrog standards to reduce medication errors, the most common hospital errors. However, 36 percent of all test orders did not prompt appropriate warnings from the systems. 

  • Many hospitals still lag behind in maternity care, even though hospitals improved in reducing early elective deliveries. Seventy-one percent of hospitals met early elective delivery standards, with fewer than 5 percent of cesarean sections happening before 39 weeks. There was room for improvement in episiotomy rates and taking precautions to reduce harm to mothers and babies, according to the report. Leapfrog found too many underweight babies are born at hospitals that can't properly care for them.

  • There's still significant variation in survival rates for high-risk procedures, including aortic aneurysm repair, which is seven times different between the best-performing hospital and the worst-performing hospital. Pancreatectomy mortality rates vary from 0 to 21 percent, while esophagectomies vary from 2.5 to 12 percent.

  • Hospital-acquired infection rates are problematic. Pressure ulcer rates varied immensely, while one in six of the reporting hospitals have higher than expected infection rates for central line infections and one in 10 performed poorly in preventing catheter-associated urinary tract infections.

  • Forty-one percent of hospitals with intensive care units were in compliance with Leapfrog's ICU Physician Standard to decrease mortality, where certified interventionists are on hand at least eight hours a day, seven days a week, a standard that can decrease deaths as much as 40.2 percent, according to the report.

  • Hospitals held steady in Never Events Policy compliance, and National Quality Forum safe practices also saw a high compliance rate, although urban hospitals performed better than rural ones.

To learn more:
- here's the report
- read the announcement