The Leapfrog Group's Annual Top Hospitals List; Swedish One of Only Two Hospitals in Pacific Northwe

The Leapfrog Group's Annual Top Hospitals List; Swedish One of Only Two Hospitals in Pacific Northwest to Achieve Prestigious National Designation Considered Gold Standard in Hospital Performance

SEATTLE, Dec. 1, 2010, 9 a.m. Pacific Time – The Leapfrog Group’s annual class of top hospitals – 65 from a field of nearly 1,200 – was announced today in Washington, D.C. and, for the first time, included Swedish Medical Center’s First Hill and Cherry Hill campuses. The announcement came at Leapfrog’s 10th anniversary meeting. A complete list of 2010 Leapfrog Top Hospitals can be viewed at www.leapfroggroup.org.

The Leapfrog Group is a coalition of public and private purchasers of employee health coverage – including Boeing and the Washington State Healthcare Authority – which was founded a decade ago to work for improvements in health-care safety, quality and affordability. Initially organized by the Business Roundtable, it is now an independent advocacy group working with a broad range of partners, including hospitals and insurers.

The ‘Top Hospital’ selection is based on the results of the Leapfrog Group’s national survey, which launched in 2001. It measures hospitals’ performance in crucial areas of patient safety and quality, including:

  • The use of computer physician order entry (CPOE) to prevent medication errors;
  • Standards for doing high-risk procedures such as heart surgery;
  • Protocols and policies to reduce medical errors and other safe practices recommended by the National Quality Forum; and
  • Adequate nurse and physician staffing

In addition, hospitals are measured on their progress in preventing infections and other hospital-acquired conditions and adopting policies on the handling of serious medical errors, among other things.

Considered the gold standard in measuring hospital performance, Leapfrog’s annual survey is the only voluntary effort of its kind. It is the most complete picture available of a hospital’s quality and safety.

The results of the survey are posted on a public Web site (www.leapfroggroup.org), which is open to patients, families, employers and other purchasers of health care.

“Earning the top hospital designation among a select few of the country’s top providers is a testament to the commitment of everyone at Swedish – the Board, management, physicians, nurses and other caregivers, support staff, as well as volunteers,” said Mary Gregg, M.D., Swedish’s director of Quality and Patient Safety. “The continuous quality improvement efforts at Swedish make a real difference in the lives of our patients.”

Dr. Gregg, Swedish CEO Rod Hochman, M.D., and Dan Dixon, the medical center’s vice president of External Affairs, traveled to Washington, D.C. to attend the anniversary meeting and receive the award.

The 2010 list includes university and other teaching hospitals, children’s hospitals and community hospitals in rural, suburban and urban settings. The only other hospital in Washington state to earn the award this year was Virginia Mason Medical Center.

“Despite the fact that only three medical centers in Washington state received Top Hospital honors this year, congratulations are also in order for our Ballard campus,” added Dr. Gregg. “Although it wasn’t eligible for award consideration because it doesn’t have an intensive care unit, Swedish Ballard ranked in the top decile nationally in the overall Leapfrog composite score, which is an equitable and noteworthy accomplishment.”

The 1,200 hospitals that publicly report their performance via the Leapfrog Survey do so voluntarily and cover nearly 50 percent of the hospital beds in the United States. “In a way, that makes all of them top hospitals,” said Leapfrog Chief Executive Leah Binder. “It represents an enormous commitment by the institution to not only measure what they do against tough standards, but also to work for change and be transparent about it.”

Leapfrog Board Chair David Knowlton, president of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, pointed out that qualifying for the top hospital rank grows more difficult each year as Leapfrog’s standards evolve and new standards are added. “Leapfrog’s members, as purchasers of care, and our partners and supporters believe that the challenges for American health care go far beyond just keeping costs down. Making certain that patients get the right care at the right time – value – is an equal part of the equation.”

Leapfrog officials say they plan to expand their efforts in the months ahead to work with consumer groups.

About Leapfrog and The Leapfrog Group

Leapfrog is an initiative driven by organizations that buy health care who are working to initiate breakthrough improvements in the safety, quality and affordability of health care for Americans. They mobilize employer purchasing power to alert America’s health industry that big leaps in health-care safety, quality and customer value will be recognized and rewarded. Leapfrog builds transparency by publishing the results of the Leapfrog Hospital Survey, and helps their employer members – either directly or through their health plans – to provide incentives and rewards to best performing hospitals. The Leapfrog Group membership represents many of the nation’s largest corporations and public agencies that buy health benefits on behalf of their enrollees. Membership also includes more than 30 business coalitions on health across the country, which on behalf of their purchaser members deploy the Leapfrog Survey in their communities.

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