Accreditation

Four steps to improve your hospital quality and safety rankings

Briefings on Accreditation and Quality, April 1, 2019

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BY CHRISTOPHER CHENEY, HEALTHLEADERS MEDIA

Nearly two decades after the Institute of Medicine published its groundbreaking healthcare safety report To Err Is Human, medical errors remain a leading cause of death in this country.

To rise to this challenge, hospitals from coast to coast are engaged in efforts to boost quality and safety, such as initiatives aimed at hospital-acquired infections. For one hospital in particular, a poor Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade rating in 2014 became a launching pad for improved quality and safety.

“When we got a ‘D’ from Leapfrog, that was our wake-up call. We had done good patient safety work before, but it wasn’t the fanatic level that we have now,” says Leigh Hamby, MD, MHA, executive vice president and chief medical officer at Piedmont Healthcare, an integrated healthcare system with 11 hospitals and almost 100 physician and specialist offices throughout Atlanta and North Georgia.

Since launching systematic initiatives to improve quality and safety in 2014, the health system has posted gains:

  • In November 2018, six of Piedmont’s 11 hospitals received “A” grades in The Leapfrog Group’s Fall 2018 Hospital Safety Grade ratings
  • From July 2016 to June 2018, Piedmont reduced hospital-acquired infections by 40%
  • One Piedmont hospital has not reported a hospital-acquired infection for more than a year

Hamby says there are four ways Piedmont implemented better quality and safety at the healthcare organization and boosted its rankings.

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