94 Hospitals in US Named Best in Safety, Quality, Efficiency

Marcia Frellick

December 08, 2014

A new list of the nation's top hospitals has been released by the Leapfrog Group, and this year, 94 made the cut, which is four more than last year. Among them are 60 urban, 25 rural, and nine children's hospitals.

The annual survey, published December 2 by the nonprofit Leapfrog Group, which represents large employers and other purchasers of healthcare, compares hospitals' performance on national standards of patient safety, quality, efficiency, and management structures to prevent errors.

This year, Massachusetts doubled its number, now having 10 hospitals on the list. Three states made their first appearance: Alabama, Kentucky, and Rhode Island. A complete list of hospitals is available on the company's website.

Among metrics used in selection for the list are infection rates, survival rates for high-risk procedures, lengths of stay, readmissions, staffing levels, and ability to prevent medication errors.

Among the benchmarks rural and urban hospitals on the list must meet is widespread adoption of a Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) system. To make the list, physicians must enter at least 75% of medication orders through a CPOE system and demonstrate that their inpatient CPOE system can alert physicians to at least 50% of common, serious prescribing errors.

The results are used "in high-stakes situations like national pay-for-performance programs — it's crucial information used by purchasers, health plans and consumers to assess the quality and safety of institutions nationwide," Leah Binder, president and chief executive officer of the Leapfrog Group, said in a press release.

The number of rural hospitals on the list continues to grow. Last year, the number had grown to 22, which was a 69% increase from the previous year, and this year the number stands at 25.

Participation in the survey is voluntary. Leapfrog asks hospitals to complete the online survey through a network of health coalitions, quality improvement organizations, and direct purchasing groups.

Leapfrog's methodology may differ from other well-known hospital ranking lists, and the groups may define benchmarks differently. Consumer Reports scores focus on hospital safety, US News & World Report focuses on the best medical centers for the most difficult patients, and Healthgrades focuses on general hospital quality.

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