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Consumer Reports Rates Hospital Safety

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, July 5, 2012

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.

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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