Citing their strong public commitments to and major achievements in reducing medical errors and other innovations in patient safety and quality, The University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) in Baltimore and Virginia Mason Medical Center (VMMC) in Seattle have been named "Leapfrog Top Hospitals of the Decade" by The Leapfrog Group. The awards were presented on November 30th at a Washington, DC ceremony marking Leapfrog's 10 year anniversary.
The two hospitals are among 1,200 leading institutions that voluntarily participate in the annual Leapfrog Hospital Survey—an extensive collection of nationally recognized standards that help ensure the safety and quality of hospital care. UMMC and VMMC are the only two hospitals in America to consistently perform in the top ranks of survey responders since Leapfrog began its Top Hospitals awards program in 2006.
The Leapfrog Group is a coalition of public and private purchasers of employee health benefits 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, national not-for-profit organization working with a broad range of partners, including hospitals and insurers. The annual survey is the only voluntary effort of its kind. Leapfrog officials say they plan to expand their efforts in the months ahead to work with consumer groups.
Leapfrog Group Board Chair David Knowlton, president of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, describes the efforts of the two hospitals as "extraordinary in every sense of the word." "The new era of health care reform in our nation is going to require providers, insurers, employers and others to work together as never before to improve the quality and efficiency of care," Knowlton noted. "Hospitals such as The University of Maryland Medical Center and Virginia Mason Medical Center chose to blaze that trail long ago by committing themselves to change, accountability and transparency. They have done the work that others must now undertake."
According to Leapfrog CEO Leah Binder, the kind of top notch performances achieved in Baltimore and Seattle are tributes not only to employers and health care purchasers who championed Leapfrog, but to the Boards of Trustees and management teams at these hospitals, and to every physician, nurse and employee working every day on the frontlines of care. Binder noted, "These hospitals are role models: they don't compromise on patient care and they never relax their determination to do better and better every year. They are courageous enough to be transparent throughout the process." Leapfrog publishes its hospital results by hospital at www.leapfroggroup.org.
The hospitals that participate in the Leapfrog Hospital Survey include large academic medical centers, community acute care institutions in urban, suburban and rural areas, as well as children's hospitals. On December 1, 2010, Leapfrog is releasing its list of the 2010 Top Hospitals.
The Leapfrog Hospital Survey, which launched in 2001, focuses on three critical areas of patient safety and quality: how patients fare which includes things like mortality for common high-risk surgeries and procedures; resources used to care for patients measured by length of stay and readmission rates; and management practices that promote safety and quality such as the adoption of computerized physician order entry to reduce medication errors and properly staffing intensive care units with specially trained doctors and nurses.