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University of Maryland Medical Center Named as One of Nation's Top Hospitals for Safety and Quality for Fourth Year in a Row

Thursday, December 03, 2009

 UMMC is the only hospital in Maryland to make the Leapfrog list.

UMMC is among 45 hospitals nationwide and the only Maryland hospital on Leapfrog’s list 

For the fourth year in a row, the Leapfrog Group has named the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore as one of the nation’s best hospitals for patient safety and quality of care. Only 45 hospitals nationwide have earned this important and prestigious recognition for 2009. 

The University of Maryland Medical Center is the only hospital in Maryland to be on the 2009 Top Hospitals list and is one of only three hospitals nationwide to have met Leapfrog’s criteria each year since 2006. 

The Leapfrog survey is the only national, public comparison of hospitals on key issues including mortality rates for certain common procedures, infection rates, safety practices, and measures of efficiency.  The Leapfrog Group was founded by The Business Roundtable to initiate breakthrough improvements – or “leaps” – in health care safety, quality and affordability.
“Our inclusion on the Leapfrog Group’s list of top hospitals four years in a row demonstrates that our entire staff—including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, therapists and support staff—is focused on providing the best patient care,” says Jeffrey A. Rivest, president and chief executive officer of the University of Maryland Medical Center. 

“The Leapfrog survey is a comprehensive, objective and up-to-date assessment of hospital performance in terms of quality and safety. It gives health care consumers an important resource when they are choosing a hospital for care,” says Rivest. 

The Leapfrog survey uses such criteria as patient care outcomes, use of best practices and patient safety initiatives. The criteria also include the number of specific high-risk procedures that are performed. Each year, Leapfrog adds new performance measures and expands the criteria for hospitals to meet its stringent standards. 

One of Leapfrog’s key criteria is whether a hospital uses computerized physician order entry, which means that medications, lab tests and imaging studies are ordered by physicians electronically, to reduce errors. The University of Maryland Medical Center completed full implementation of computerized order entry, known as CPOE, two years ago. As an added measure for 2009, Leapfrog looked not only at whether a hospital implemented CPOE, but also how effectively it used the system to prevent medication errors. The medical center met Leapfrog’s rigorous standards on the CPOE evaluation tool.

Leapfrog also reviews hospital performance in a variety of common and high-risk procedures, as well as at the volume of high-risk procedures. A high number of procedures indicates more experience and usually represents better outcomes.

“We met, and in some cases exceeded, all of Leapfrog’s performance standards for a variety of complex procedures, including coronary artery bypass surgery, aortic valve replacement, interventional cardiology procedures, bariatric surgery and high risk, as well as normal deliveries,” says Jonathan Gottlieb, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of the University of Maryland Medical Center.

The medical center performed 133 aortic valve replacements in the past year, while the Leapfrog standard was 120. There were 778 percutaneous coronary interventions (such as balloon angioplasty) at the medical center, while the Leapfrog standard was 400.  In addition, the medical center’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit cared for 123 very low birth weight babies,  significantly exceeding the Leapfrog standard of 50.

Also important to the Leapfrog Group is whether hospital intensive care units are staffed with physicians who have specialized training in intensive or critical care. Such specialists are known as intensivists. “All ten of our Intensive Care Units, including the surgical, medical, neurological, cardiac surgery, multi-trauma and pediatric ICUs, are staffed by doctors who are specially trained in intensive and critical care,” says Dr. Gottlieb.

The University of Maryland Medical Center also scored well on many of the safe practices selected by Leapfrog, such as nurse staffing, quality and leadership, hand hygiene, medication reconciliation, communication of critical information to patients and having leadership structure and systems in place to provide patient safety.

“Excellent care and patient safety are our top priorities, and being on the Leapfrog Group’s list of the nation’s top performing hospitals for the fourth year in a row demonstrates our focus on these priorities.” says Lisa Rowen, DNSc, RN, senior vice president for patient care services and Chief Nursing Officer at the University of Maryland Medical Center. “We have worked to create a collaborative, professional and meaningful environment for our nurses and other patient care staff, which, in turn, provides a solid foundation for high-quality patient care,” she says.
The University of Maryland Medical Center was among 1,206 hospitals that submitted data and documentation for the 2009 Leapfrog Hospital Quality and Safety Survey.
“Leapfrog has a great amount of credibility because it is founded on evidence-based medicine and on actual clinical processes and patient care data, rather than relying substantially on opinions and reputations. It is for that reason that we are especially proud of this national recognition,” Rivest says.

He adds, “This recognition also validates the high level of support and partnership we have with the University of Maryland Schools of Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. Members of their faculty participate in many research-driven, quality-of-care projects within our hospital, helping us to elevate quality and patient safety to higher levels.”

Also in 2009, the University of Maryland Medical Center achieved Magnet designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). Magnet designation means that a hospital meets specific criteria for nursing professionalism, teamwork and the highest standards in patient care.  Only about 5 percent of hospitals across the United States have earned Magnet status.
The University of Maryland Medical Center is a 731-bed teaching hospital in downtown Baltimore that provides a full range of health care to people from throughout Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic region. It is a referral center for the most serious and complicated health problems in adults and children, including cancer, trauma, heart disease, neurological conditions and organ transplants. All members of the UMMC medical staff are on the faculty of the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

For more information about the Leapfrog Group: http://www.leapfroggroup.org/news/leapfrog_news/Top_Hospitals

For more information about the University of Maryland Medical Center: www.umm.edu.

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