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Which are the safest hospitals in the U.S.?

The latest review of U.S. hospital performance has been published by The Leapfrog Group. According to the magazine Infection Control, the tally reveals shifts among many hospitals in relation to their final assessment grades.

The Leapfrog Group scoring system rates hospitals on the basis of errors, injuries, accidents and infections. These issues are categorized as “process measures,” which represent “how often a hospital gives patients recommended treatment for a given medical condition or procedure”; and “outcome measures,” which represent “what happens to a patient while receiving care.”

The resultant Hospital Safety Score assigns A, B, C, D and F grades to more than 2,500 U.S. hospitals. The review is run twice per year. A re-current area of concern is in relation to high-risk deliveries of very-low birthweight babies.

The data that goes into generating the scores is assessed and the final outcomes calculated by selected patient safety experts. Some data is provided by hospitals, other hospitals decline to respond. The Hospital Safety Score methodology has been published in the Journal of Patient Safety (“Safety in Numbers: The Development of Leapfrog’s Composite Patient Safety Score for U.S. Hospitals.”)

The results for each hospital are available online. Searches can be made by hospital, city or state. What the results inform is that there is a wide disparity in the U.S. hospital sector. Here an elite is evident, with 133 hospitals having gained an “A” in each of the updates to the ranking system since 2012. This equates to approximately 5 percent of all graded hospitals. The highest scoring hospitals are: Baptist Health South Florida system, Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center and University of Chicago Medical Center, and Baystate Medical Center and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Massachusetts.

The information is offered to patients (or what the compilers of the survey term “consumers”) so that they can decide which nearby hospital to visit, assuming they have the time and resources to do so.

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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