Leapfrog Hospital Survey Results are publicly reported on Leapfrog’s website and used by purchasers and consumers, regional and national health plans, transparency vendors, and researchers. The accuracy of the data we publish and distribute is of utmost importance. Leapfrog has several protocols in place to verify the accuracy of our results. Each protocol is described in detail below.
Affirmation of Accuracy
At the end of each section of the Survey, the hospital's CEO, or their designee, complete an Affirmation of Accuracy, affirming that the information the hospital has submitted in that section of the Survey is indeed accurate. Leapfrog reserves the right to require documentation before certifying and/or publishing any hospital’s Survey Results and does exercise this right at random.
Warnings in the Online Hospital Survey Tool
Leapfrog’s Online Hospital Survey Tool requires hospitals to “check for data review warnings” before they are able to submit a Survey. When a hospital clicks this button on the Survey Dashboard, sections that have been completed and affirmed will be scanned for potential data entry errors and inconsistencies. For example, if a hospital reports licensed and staffed ICU beds in Section 1 Basic Hospital Information, and then reports not caring for patients in an ICU in Section 5 ICU Physician Staffing, a “data review warning” will be generated. The hospital will still be able to submit their Survey but will be contacted via email by the Help Desk to either (1) correct the error or (2) document that the original response was correct. The data review warning system gives hospitals an opportunity to correct potential errors immediately – while they are still in the Online Hospital Survey Tool.
If a hospital receives a "data review warning," they can either:
- Review their response and make corrections on the spot. Hospitals will need to re-affirm any updated sections before they attempt to submit them again.
- Print their “data review warning” and investigate the issue. Hospitals are encouraged to contact the Help Desk if they have any questions.
Extensive Monthly Data Verification
Upon the receipt of a hospital’s submitted Leapfrog Hospital Survey, The Leapfrog Group conducts an extensive Data Verification of each response submitted in the Survey. Generally, The Leapfrog Group conducts this Data Verification monthly beginning with June 30 submissions until the Survey is taken offline on January 31. However, in 2020, as part of Leapfrog’s COVID-19 response, Leapfrog will not begin Data Verification until September for hospitals that submit by August 31. Data verification messages are emailed to the primary Survey Contact, secondary Survey Contact (if applicable) and System Contact (if applicable) within the first 5 business days of the month AFTER Leapfrog receives a Survey submission beginning with August 31 submissions.
To identify potential data entry or reporting errors, quantitative responses are assessed using empirically driven, normative data quality thresholds. The data quality thresholds are constructed with both high and low benchmarks of acceptability. Data quality thresholds for each question are determined from both external data sources (e.g., state quality reports, other national performance measurement entities) and historical Leapfrog Hospital Survey data. The Data Verification also includes assessing qualitative responses for potential data entry errors and inconsistencies. Applying this review methodology, The Leapfrog Group assigns each response into one of three categories:
- Category C: The response provided is plausible and within the data quality thresholds; Leapfrog will not contact the hospital.
- Category B: The response provided is plausible, but it falls outside the data quality thresholds; Leapfrog will contact the hospital and action from the hospital is requested.
- Category A: The response provided is considered implausible, given that the response falls far outside of the data quality thresholds and appears to have been provided with the intent to mislead; Leapfrog will contact the hospital and action from the hospital is required.
Hospitals that receive a Category B Data Verification message at the beginning of the month for any measure will be asked to review the associated Survey questions and measure specifications to ensure the submitted responses are correct. Hospitals are asked to (1) contact the Help Desk to confirm the original responses are correct so we can discontinue the monthly Data Verification message or (2) to update and resubmit the Survey if a correction is needed.
Hospitals that receive a Category A Data Verification message at the beginning of the month for any measure will have until the end of that same month to contact the Help Desk to either (1) document that the original response was correct or (2) correct the data entry or reporting error, or they will be publicly reported as “Pending Leapfrog Verification” for that measure. This term is used to indicate that the hospital has self-reported Survey responses that are under further review by Leapfrog.
If any Category A Data Verification messages are not resolved by January 31 (when the Online Hospital Survey Tool is taken offline), the entire section in which the flagged responses were included will be decertified and all measures within the section will be publicly reported as “Declined to Respond.”
In the interim (that is, prior to Leapfrog's receipt of a hospital’s response to a Category B Data Verification message or prior to the end of the month for Category A Data Verification messages), the original Survey Results are publicly reported on Leapfrog’s website.
When Leapfrog is contacted about a particular Survey response or Leapfrog representatives are made aware of a potential error in reporting, Leapfrog does investigate these concerns and the hospital’s Survey is subject to decertification.
Monthly Documentation Requirements
In addition to the pre- and post-submission Extensive Monthly Data Verification described above, Leapfrog also randomly selects hospitals to submit documentation to verify the accuracy of various responses from each Section of the Leapfrog Hospital Survey. Hospitals must respond to the documentation request within 30 days or risk having the section publicly reported as "Pending Leapfrog Verification."
On-site Data Verification
On-Site Data Verification builds on Leapfrog’s already robust process for reviewing Survey responses, and, at the same time, answers hospitals’ requests for more information on using the Online Survey Tool and Survey Results for quality improvement. Hospitals that submit a 2020 Leapfrog Hospital Survey will be eligible for On-Site Data Verification in 2021.
Leapfrog Hospital Survey Binder
The Leapfrog Hospital Survey Binder was originally designed for those hospitals that have been selected for Leapfrog’s On-Site Data Verification, however, the Leapfrog Hospital Survey Binder document (PDF) is available for use by all hospitals to collect, organize, and record information during the completion of the Leapfrog Hospital Survey. The document, which is divided into 10 tabs (or sections), one for each section of the Survey, can be printed and placed in a binder. The information is helpful when completing subsequent year’s Surveys, in staff and leadership transitions, and as a historical record. The use of the binder also acquaints hospitals with the elements of On-Site Data Verification.