Data reveals additional details on COVID-19’s impact on patient safety
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 10, 2022—The Leapfrog Group, a national watchdog organization of employers and other purchasers focused on health care safety, today released the spring 2022 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, which assigns a letter grade to nearly 3,000 U.S. general hospitals based on over 30 measures of patient safety. The Safety Grade is the only rating solely focused on a hospital’s ability to protect patients from preventable errors, accidents, injuries, and infections. The latest grades provide a look at the impact of COVID-19 on patient safety, with several measures included in the grade showing a significant decline.
Recent studies have shown that the pandemic has reversed years of progress on patient safety efforts. The updated data included in the Safety Grade, some of which reflects a pandemic-era timeframe, heighten these findings and demonstrate how patient care worsened due to strains on the health care system and workforce.
The updated Hospital Safety Grades are published alongside a new report from The Leapfrog Group, Patient Experience During the Pandemic: Adult Inpatient Care. The report provides further insight into how patient experience has declined between the pre-pandemic and mid-pandemic timeframe.
Included in the over 30 measures of patient safety used to calculate the Hospital Safety Grades are five measures of patient experience that research has shown have a direct tie to patient safety outcomes. For example, enhanced communication with providers and about medications can lead to lower rates of hospital-acquired conditions like sepsis and blood clots, fewer surgical complications, and decreases in incidence of respiratory failure.
“The health care workforce has faced unprecedented levels of pressure during the pandemic, and as a result, patients' experience with their care appears to have suffered,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “We commend the workforce for their heroic efforts these past few years and now strongly urge hospital leadership to recommit to improved care—from communication to responsiveness—and get back on track with patient safety outcomes.”
At HospitalSafetyGrade.org, the public can find detailed information about a hospital’s performance on patient experience and other safety measures used to grade hospitals.
Across all states, highlights of findings from the spring 2022 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade include:
- Thirty‐three percent of hospitals received an "A," 24% received a "B," 36% received a "C," 7% received a "D," and less than 1% received an "F.”
- Five states with the highest percentages of "A" hospitals are North Carolina, Virginia, Utah, Colorado, and Michigan.
- There were no “A” hospitals in Wyoming, West Virginia, the District of Columbia, or North Dakota.
“Despite a general decrease in patient experience ratings, spring Grades continue to show significant variation in safety performance across U.S. hospitals,” Binder said. “This variability is a constant reminder that the public must have access to information on which hospitals are safer so patients can make the best decision for themselves and their loved ones.”
The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade is the only hospital ratings program based exclusively on hospital prevention of medical errors and harms to patients. The grading system is fully transparent and free to the public. Grades are updated biannually in the fall and in the spring.
For more information about the Hospital Safety Grade, including details on individual hospital grades
and state rankings, please visit HospitalSafetyGrade.org.
About The Leapfrog Group
Founded in 2000 by large employers and other purchasers, The Leapfrog Group is a national nonprofit organization driving a movement for giant leaps forward for patient safety. The flagship Leapfrog Hospital Survey and new Leapfrog Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC) Survey collect and transparently report hospital and ASC performance, empowering purchasers to find the highest-value care and giving consumers the lifesaving information they need to make informed decisions. The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, Leapfrog's other main initiative, assigns letter grades to hospitals based on their record of patient safety, helping consumers protect themselves and their families from errors, injuries, accidents, and infections. For more, follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for our newsletter.