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Consumer Reports Rates Hospital Safety

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, July 5, 2012

The spotlight on hospital-caused patient harm has become a bit brighter with the launch of Consumer Reports' hospital safety ratings, which uses several different measures than the Leapfrog Group's recent and controversial hospital letter grades, and reaches opposite conclusions about many facilities.

The CU rating system, featured in the magazine's August issue, rates hospitals in six categories:

  1. Infections
  2. 30-day readmissions
  3. Overuse of scanning
  4. Communication about new medications and discharge process (as measured by HCAHPS – the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey)
  5. Patient complications
  6. 30-day post-discharge mortality

In addition to informing consumers, the CU rating system is aimed at hospital CEOs and boards, "in terms of their accountability," and getting them to understand they can do better, John Santa, MD, director of Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center, explained in an interview with HealthLeaders.

"We see hospitals are figuring this out, but most of them haven't.  The hospitals that have are those with CEOs and boards that have decided, 'enough of this ambiguity about safety. We've had 12 years since the Institute of Medicine report To Err Is Human. This is embarrassing. And we're not going to be embarrassed by it any longer."

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1 comments on "Consumer Reports Rates Hospital Safety"


Leah Binder (7/5/2012 at 2:32 PM)
Consumer Reports did a superb job rating hospitals and we are very excited to see this launch. As Cheryl Clark's thorough article points out, Consumer Reports rated hospitals using different measures than we used to grade hospitals in the Hospital Safety Score. As a result, consumers now have two rich sources of information with different perspectives on hospital safety, and both are useful for anyone faced with a hospital stay. Just as you would consult more than one review before purchasing a book, so should consumers look at these two scores (and other quality data) when choosing a hospital.We have a list of sources of information on our website (www.hospitalsafetyscore.org). We have one point of clarification to this article, however: Just like Consumer Reports, Leapfrog used only publicly available data to calculate our score. We make all the data and methods fully available on our website. We have a longstanding collaboration with Consumer Reports advocating for transparency of healthcare information and we look forward to continue to give consumers the information they need[INVALID]and deserve[INVALID]before entrusting their lives to a hospital.[INVALID]Leah Binder, President & CEO, The Leapfrog Group