Twenty Years After ‘To Err Is Human,’ Leapfrog Group Highlights Progress on Patient Safety, Transparency

Nov. 7, 2019
Organization seeing fewer deaths from preventable errors it monitors

Coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the Institute of Medicine’s  groundbreaking “To Err is Human” report, the Leapfrog Group’s fall 2019 Hospital Safety Grades highlight progress on patient safety.

The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade is a bi-annual grading assigning “A” through “F” letter grades to general acute-care hospitals in the U.S. It is the nation’s only rating focused entirely on patient safety—preventable errors, accidents, injuries and infections.

The “To Err is Human” report revealed nearly 100,000 lives are lost every year due to preventable medical errors. Subsequent research suggests the number may be twice as high, according to the Leapfrog Group.

 “In stark contrast to 20 years ago, we’re now able to pinpoint where the problems are, and that allows us to grade hospitals,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group, in a statement. “It also allows us to better track progress. Encouragingly, we are seeing fewer deaths from the preventable errors we monitor in our grading process.”

Earlier this year, an analysis by the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality that found 45,000 fewer deaths than a 2016 analysis, based on the prevalence of safety problems in hospitals graded by The Leapfrog Group.

Across all states, highlights of findings from the fall 2019 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade include:

• More than 2,600 hospitals graded with the breakdown as follows: 33% earned an “A,” 25% earned a “B,” 34% earned a “C,” 8% a “D” and just under 1% an “F.”

• The five states with the highest percentages of “A” hospitals are: Maine (59%), Utah (56%), Virginia (56%), Oregon (48%) and North Carolina (47%).

• There are no “A” hospitals in three states: Wyoming, Alaska and North Dakota.

• Notably, 36 hospitals nationwide have achieved an “A” in every grading update since the launch of the Safety Grade in spring 2012.

The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade is reviewed by a national expert panel and receives guidance from the Armstrong Institute. The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade is updated every six months, once in the fall and once in the spring. 

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