Consumerism is Driving New Standards for Quality Care
Patients are increasingly prepared to evaluate their healthcare choices and interactions based on a wide range of quantitive and qualitative indicators available today. From quality measures, to price transparency, the effectiveness of treatment, to patient experience reviews, various metrics are driving an increased level of patient engagement through comparative research. In response to this rapid drive toward consumerism, healthcare organizations are adapting to today’s evolving decision-making process, focusing on the criteria most important to consumers and patients.
There are numerous public hospital quality rating systems available to help guide patients and purchasers on how to identify and compare top performing hospitals, and in fact, the proliferation of these sources have increased over the last decade to meet the needs for transparency.
One of the leading watchdog organizations, The Leapfrog Group, reports data for more than 2,000 hospitals across the U.S. by collecting and analyzing first party survey data and third party, publicly reported information to rate hospitals on different measures. As a premier advocate for hospital transparency, the organization’s influence has fostered positive behavior change for safety, helping to set new standards for quality care. Their approach measures quality domains including structure, process, outcomes, and the patient experience. In addition, an assessment on the culture of safety is a unique measure to Leapfrog, not included in other ratings, but an increasingly important priority for healthcare executives.
Here are two of the primary ways The Leapfrog Group assesses and reports on hospital performance:
Leapfrog Hospital Survey: The Leapfrog Hospital Survey is free and open to all hospitals, allowing them to report on safety, quality and efficiency measures. These measures provide hospitals with the opportunity to benchmark their progress in improving the care they deliver, also providing transparent information to help guide patient and purchaser decision making based on hospitals progress to improve and meet defined standards.
The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade: The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade is the only hospital rating focused exclusively on hospital safety. This initiative assigns letters A-F to hospitals based on their record of patient safety, informing consumers about hospital-acquired infection rates, injuries, errors, and accidents. In the Spring 2019 report, 41 hospitals earned A scores, representing about one third of the 2,600 hospitals graded. A quarter of the hospitals received a B-grade and 36% a C-grade. In comparison to ‘A’ hospitals, a new report finds that patients face a 35% greater risk of avoidable death at ‘B’ hospitals, 88% risk at ‘C’ hospitals, and their risk nearly doubles at hospitals with ‘D’ or ‘F’ grades.
Improving Safety and Quality Standards Through Better Hand Hygiene
As standards for patient safety continue to evolve, The Leapfrog Group’s team of researchers works with reputable Safety and Quality organizations to refine survey questions, ensuring measures align with the latest in science, as well as the public reporting needs of purchasers and consumers. Proposed changes are released for public commenting and piloted to a diverse group of hospitals across the country.
As part of the 2019 pilot survey, questions regarding adherence to Hand Hygiene ‘best practices’ were included, gathering insight on current monitoring methods and the effectiveness of those practices. The section includes practices for Training and Education, Infrastructure to Support Hand Hygiene, Monitoring and Feedback, and Additional Questions in regard to initiatives that demonstrate a commitment to hand hygiene.
As part of the rationale to add this section, evidence of the direct relationship between hand hygiene and hospital-acquired infections was used, placing an emphasis on gaps in hand hygiene performance. According to the CDC, clinicians wash their hands less than half of the amount of time required, supporting an industry consensus that direct observation delivers inflated results with compliance in the 90% range. This red flag has also led other organizations, such as The Joint Commission to set new strict standards for hand hygiene protocol.
It is anticipated that the new Hand Hygiene Practice measure will be scored and publicly reported in the 2020 Leapfrog Hospital Survey, creating an opportunity for hospitals to assess and improve on their hand hygiene performance. According to The Leapfrog Group, electronic compliance monitoring presents compelling evidence that suggests results far superior to observation methods in improving hand hygiene.
Is your organization ready to adopt a new standard for hand hygiene monitoring? Hospitals that demonstrate current usage or the intent to improve compliance through an innovative, digital monitoring solution, will be ahead of the curve in improving their safety scores. The deadline to submit Leapfrog Survey data to be included in the Spring 2020 Safety Grade is November 30th.
Learn more about how SwipeSense is working with hospitals to transform their hand hygiene programs, playing a role in their quality ratings and in the delivery of safe, efficient care.
Also check back to our blog soon to read our exclusive discussion on all things quality and safety, with The Leapfrog Group’s CEO, Leah Binder, as part of new SwipeSeries interviews.