The Leapfrog Group's annual list of Top Hospitals was announced on December 4, 2012, in Baltimore, MD, and included Northwest Community Healthcare in Arlington Heights, IL. The Leapfrog Group is a national organization using the collective leverage of large purchasers of health care to initiate breakthrough improvements in the safety, quality and affordability of health care for Americans.
Leapfrog is one of only a few independent review organizations that identify best performers in order to let businesses know where to send their insured employees. In order to be considered, NCH needed to be in the "A" safety category, which was announced recently. After that, NCH was evaluated based on quality, cost and service.
"It is always rewarding to be recognized for achieving our goal of delivering the highest quality care for our patients who place their trust in our hospital and medical professionals," said Bruce Crowther, President and CEO of Northwest Community Healthcare. "I am proud and grateful for the work our physicians have put into making us one of the best in the country."
Shortly, you will be receiving information regarding how we wish to celebrate this distinction and thank you for all you do in support of quality and compassionate patient care.
Northwest Community Healthcare was selected as a Top Hospital out of nearly 1200 hospitals participating in the Leapfrog Group's annual survey. Other hospitals reaching this achievement include academic medical centers, teaching hospitals, children's hospitals and community hospitals in rural, suburban and urban settings.
The selection is based on the results of the Leapfrog Group's annual hospital survey, which measures hospitals' performance on patient safety and quality, focusing on three critical areas of hospital care: how patients fare, resource use and management structures in place to prevent errors. The results of the survey are posted on a website open to patients and families, the public, employers and other purchasers of healthcare.
"The Leapfrog Top Hospital distinction is by far the most competitive award a hospital can receive," said Leah Binder, President & CEO of the Leapfrog Group. "Leapfrog holds hospitals to the highest standards on behalf of our purchaser members and their employees. By achieving the Top Hospital accolade, Northwest Community Healthcare has demonstrated exemplary performance across all areas of quality and patient safety that are analyzed on the Leapfrog Hospital Survey. This hospital stands out as one consistently providing safe, high quality care. I would be comfortable sending my family to Northwest Community Healthcare for care."
As a 2012 Top Hospital, Northwest Community Healthcare fully met the following standards:
I. Preventing Medication Errors (CPOE)
Research estimates that more than one million serious medication errors occur each year in U.S. hospitals, with 7,000 deaths annually from adverse drug events (ADEs). In addition to the human price paid, each ADE adds $2,000 on average to the cost of a hospitalization. This translates to more than $7.5 billion per year nationwide in hospital costs alone. Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) systems can reduce the number of ADEs by up to 88%, preventing three million serious medication errors in the U.S. each year.
Leapfrog's standard for CPOE measures the extent to which a hospital has adopted CPOE, and whether decision-support tools in the CPOE system are working effectively. To fully meet this standard, physicians must enter at least 75% of medication orders through a CPOE system; and demonstrate, via a test, that their inpatient CPOE system can alert physicians to at least 50% of common, serious prescribing errors.
II. ICU Physician Staffing (IPS)
Mortality rates are significantly lower in hospitals with ICUs managed exclusively by board-certified intensivists (physicians trained in critical care medicine). Research has shown that in ICUs where intensivists manage or co-manage all patients, there is a 30% reduction in overall hospital mortality and a 40% reduction in ICU mortality.
Hospitals fulfilling Leapfrog's standard for ICU Physician Staffing must operate adult and/or pediatric ICUs that are managed or co-managed by intensivists who: a) Are present during daytime hours and provide clinical care exclusively in the ICU and, b) When not present on site or via telemedicine, return pages at least 95% of the time, (i) within five minutes and (ii) arranges for a certified physician or physician extender to reach ICU patients within five minutes.
III. High-risk surgeries and procedures
(Hospitals must achieve a score of "fully meets" for 50% of the surgeries or procedures that apply.) Research indicates that a patient's risk of dying is reduced by approximately two to four times, depending on the high-risk procedure, if care is obtained in hospitals that meet Leapfrog's standards.
Hospitals fulfilling Leapfrog's standards for high-risk surgeries and procedures (heart bypass, heart angioplasty, aortic valve replacement, abdominal aortic aneurism repair, bariatric surgery, esophogectomy, pancreatectomy, and high-risk newborn deliveries) have met Leapfrog's robust volume, processes of care, and outcomes standards.