How Safe is Your Hospital?
 

About the Score

Hospital Safety Scores are assigned to more than 2,500 hospitals across the nation twice annually. The Hospital Safety Score is becoming the gold standard measure of patient safety, cited recently in MSNBC, The New York Times, and AARP The Magazine

The Hospital Safety Score uses national performance measures from the Leapfrog Hospital Survey, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and the American Hospital Association’s Annual Survey and Health Information Technology Supplement.

Taken together, those performance measures produce a single score representing a hospital’s overall performance in keeping patients safe from preventable harm and medical errors. The Hospital Safety Score includes 30 measures, all currently in use by national measurement and reporting programs. The Hospital Safety Score methodology has been peer reviewed and published in the Journal of Patient Safety.

Leapfrog works under the guidance of the seven-member Leapfrog Blue Ribbon Expert Panel to select measures and develop a scoring methodology. The Panel is made up of patient safety experts from across the country:

  • Arnold Milstein, M.D., M.P.H., Stanford University
  • Peter Pronovost, M.D., Ph.D., F.C.C.M, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
  • Patrick Romano, M.D., M.P.H., University of California, Davis
  • Sara Singer, Ph.D., Harvard University
  • Tim Vogus, Ph.D., Vanderbilt University
  • Matthew D McHugh, Ph.D., J.D., M.P.H., R.N., C.R.N.P., F.A.A.N., University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing
  • Jennifer Daley, M.D., F.A.C.P.

How the Hospital Safety Score is produced

Quicklinks

The Leapfrog Blue Ribbon Expert Panel selected 30 measures of publicly available hospital safety data, analyzed the data and determined the weight of each measure based on evidence, opportunity for improvement and impact. Information from secondary sources supplemented any missing data to give hospitals as much credit as possible toward their Safety Score. The Hospital Safety Score places each measure into one of two domains: (1) Process/Structural Measures or (2) Outcome Measures, each accounting for 50 percent of the overall score.

  • Process Measures represent how often a hospital gives patients recommended treatment for a given medical condition or procedure. For example, “Responsiveness of hospital staff” looks at patients’ feedback on how long it takes for a staff member to respond when they request help. Structural Measures represent the environment in which patients receive care. For example, “Doctors order medications through a computer” represents whether a hospital uses a special computerized system to prevent medication errors.
  • Outcome Measures represent what happens to a patient while receiving care. For example, “Dangerous object left in patient’s body” measures how many times a patient undergoing surgery had a dangerous foreign object, like a sponge or tool, left in his or her body.