Sixty-five hospitals have earned The Leapfrog Group's annual "Top Hospital" designation, equaling 2010's record-setting total. The designation, which Leapfrog bills as the most competitive national hospital quality award in the country, recognizes quality of care.
Quality measures, which hinge on the use of healthcare information technology, include preventing medical errors, reducing mortality for high-risk procedures like heart bypass surgery, and reducing hospital readmissions for patients being treated for conditions like pneumonia and heart attack.
Officials tout the Leapfrog Hospital Survey, now in its 11th year, as the toughest standard-bearer, providing the most complete picture of a hospital's quality and safety.
The survey focuses on three critical areas of hospital care:
- how patients fare,
- resources used to care for patients, and
- management practices that promote safety and quality.
In each of the three areas, Leapfrog asks hospitals to report on nationally standardized measures so healthcare consumers can compare hospitals in their community and across the country.
"Employers and other large healthcare benefits purchasers look to the Leapfrog Group to identify high- performing hospitals," said Keith Reissaus, Leapfrog board chair and vice president of Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana. "Leapfrog's members and supporters believe that the challenges for American healthcare go far beyond just keeping costs down. It's about making certain that patients get the right care at the right time; that value is an equal part of the equation."
Leapfrog Group CEO Leah Binder added that nearly one-quarter of America's hospitals "have committed themselves to Leapfrog's exceptionally high level of transparency and accountability – a sign that the hospital industry is increasingly transparent and committed to earning the public trust."
University and other teaching hospitals, children's hospitals, and community hospitals in rural, suburban, and urban settings were all represented in the 2011 rankings.
The 2011 Top Hospital list is culled from a field of nearly 1,200 hospitals that voluntarily and publicly report their performance by participating in the Leapfrog Hospital Survey.
The hospitals were honored at the Leapfrog Group's 2011 annual meeting in Washington on Dec. 6, where the group celebrated the five-year anniversary of its ground-breaking Never Events policy.
The Leapfrog Group is a coalition of public and private purchasers of employee health coverage founded more than a decade ago to work for improvements in healthcare safety, quality and affordability. Initially organized by the Business Roundtable, it is now an independent organization working with a broad range of partners, including hospitals and insurers.
Leapfrog's list of top hospitals is on the next page.