Tuesday, December 06, 2011
For the sixth year in a row, The Leapfrog Group has ranked the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore as a top hospital for patient safety and quality of care. The University of Maryland Medical Center is one of only two hospitals in the United States to make this stringent list every year since its inception six years ago.
The Leapfrog Group Annual Top Hospital List provides a public comparison of hospitals on key issues, including patient-care outcomes, use of best practices, patient safety initiatives and measures of efficiency. Each year, Leapfrog adds new, more stringent performance measures and expands the criteria for hospitals to meet its standards.
“The top hospital designation for 2011 reflects our unrelenting commitment to excellence in patient care, embraced at every level, from doctors, nurses and pharmacists, to therapists, technicians and support staff,” says Jeffrey A. Rivest, president and chief executive officer of the University of Maryland Medical Center. “The fact that this recognition has continued for six years in a row is testimony to the culture of excellence that drives the Medical Center’s approach to patient care and helps sustain the highest standards of treatment in the midst of rising expectations.”
Leapfrog’s key criteria center on policies and procedures that are based on scientific evidence and represent the best practices in health care. For example, research has shown that ordering medications, lab tests and imaging studies electronically reduces errors. Under the Leapfrog standards, hospitals score highest in this category if they use this process to effectively prevent errors. The University of Maryland Medical Center fully implemented computerized physician order entry four years ago and has met that requirement again this year.
Other research has shown that staffing hospital intensive care units (ICUs) with physicians who have specialized training in intensive or critical care, known as intensivists, significantly reduces mortality rates and patient length of stay in the hospital. The University of Maryland Medical Center has more intensive care units than most hospitals in the country – 10 units, including surgical, medical, neurological, cardiac surgery, multi-trauma and pediatric ICUs. All are staffed by doctors specially trained in intensive and critical care medicine.
“All the physicians treating patients at the medical center are faculty of the University of Maryland School of Medicine,” says E. Albert Reece, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., vice president for medical affairs at the University of Maryland and dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “This recognition by The Leapfrog Group is continued affirmation that great teams of professionals working together drive great patient outcomes.”
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 a leadership structure and systems in place to provide patient safety.
“A collaborative, professional and meaningful environment for our nurses and other patient-care staff provides a solid foundation for high-quality patient care,” says Lisa Rowen, DNSc, RN, senior vice president for patient care services and chief nursing officer at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Rivest adds, “The Leapfrog recognition continues to validate our partnership and collaboration with the University of Maryland schools of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Social Work and Dentistry. Their faculty members participate in research-driven, quality-of-care projects within the medical center, helping us to elevate quality and patient safety to higher levels.”
"Once again, the Leapfrog results show just how excellent the University of Maryland Medical Center is. It's more than a feeling – the Leapfrog results verify the outstanding job being done on safe practices at UMMC. They are truly a top hospital," says John Miller from the Mid-Atlantic Business Group on Health, an association of employer health-care purchasers, including large employers in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia that drives cost-effective health care, through value-based purchasing.