First, it includes CT imaging as a safety measure because CTs have the potential to unnecessarily expose patients to dangerous amounts of radiation, with each scan the equivalent of between 100 and 500 chest X-rays. Hospital Compare includes CT scanning rates on its website, but considers them as one way to measure resource utilization to evaluate costly waste.
Second, the CU score draws from Medicare's 30-day readmission rates as posted on Hospital Compare, considering that too is a safety measure.
"A readmission rate is the number one indication of the likelihood that you're going to go back into a hospital and be exposed to additional risk, and because we know one reason for readmissions are errors that occur during the first admission, including infections," Santa says. "Hospitals that get it right the first time won't expose you to that additional risk."
Third, CU includes results from the HCAHPS survey as a safety measure because they reflect whether the patient thought their use of medications was explained well when they left the hospital. "Obviously a lot of errors that occur are around medication usage," Santa says. "And we think it's alarming that so little use seems to be made of the patient as a source of this information."
Leah Binder, President and CEO of the Leapfrog Group, said Leapfrog worked closely with CU, which uses some Leapfrog data in its methodology, and will continue to do so.
"We believe the two ratings complement each other and enrich the quality of information available to people making life and death decisions about their health care," she said in a statement.
The Leapfrog Group, which is supported by employers who purchase healthcare services for their employees, depends on hospitals to voluntarily report on certain Leapfrog specific measures, such as the frequency with which they use computerized provider entry systems.