A Lot to Consider in Healthcare Reform

April 17, 2009

Few Hospitals Meet Mortality-Reducing Quality Goals

Most hospitals in the 2008 Leapfrog Group quality survey did not meet standards shown to reduce mortality, researchers said.

Of the 1,282 hospitals taking part in the voluntary survey, which represents 48% of urban medical centers, many are falling short of mortality-reduction measures and are not delivering care efficiently, the nonprofit’s annual report said.

“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.

The new survey comes just weeks after the Journal of the American Medical Association published a study showing that adherence to National Quality Forum safety standards — including hand washing and having a competent nursing staff — do not result in lower mortality rates. (See: Hospital Mortality Not Linked to Safe Practices Score )

But the new survey focuses on factors that are known to reduce mortality, such as physician staffing levels in intensive care units and meeting prescription order-entry standards, said Binder.

Hospitals are not doing a good job of following recognized protocols for high-risk procedures, procedures that can reduce the risk of death significantly, said Barbara Rudolph, Ph.D., of the Leapfrog Group.

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