Leapfrog Hospital Ratings are based on voluntary submissions to the annual Leapfrog Hospital Survey. General acute care and freestanding pediatric hospitals across the country are asked to participate in the annual Survey and provide information about the quality and safety of the care they provide. This information is unavailable elsewhere and is published to the public for free on this website.
In searching for a hospital, patients should be most concerned when they noticed that a hospital has "Declined to Respond". This means that the hospital is withholding information from its community on the care it provides. Concerned patients can send a letter to their hospital administrators requesting that the hospital participate in future Surveys.
Hospitals that participate in the survey are scored on a four-tiered performance scale. From highest to lowest, hospitals are scored as Fully Meets Standards (four bars), Substantial Progress (three bars), Some Progress (two bars), or Willing to Report (one bar). Does Not Apply is used when the hospital does not perform a given procedure or service area, and Unable to Calculate Score signifies that a hospital's patient volume for a particular measure was too low to accurately calculate a score.
Patients should look for a hospital in their region that has fully met the standards for many areas assessed on the Survey. The Inpatient Care Management section of the ratings contains information that is applicable to all patients, regardless of the reason they are visiting a hospital. This includes an evaluation of how well hospitals are equipped to prevent medication errors and if the hospital has a Never Events policy in place. Patients who are getting ready to have a baby should use the Maternity Care section to identify a hospital that has a low rate of Early Elective Deliveries and C-Sections. Rates of infections and other errors are available in the Hospital-Acquired Conditions tab. Resource Use educates consumers on length of stay and readmissions for common conditions such as pneumonia and heart attack.