The Leapfrog group suggests consumers ask their hospitals the following questions about safety procedures: Does your hospital have a hand-washing policy to ensure all staff members are washing their hands before and after patient contact? Does your hospital have a low rate of central line-associated bloodstream infections? Central lines are used to give medication to a hospital’s sickest patients, but deadly infections can be introduced through central lines. Is your hospital staffed with nursing leadership empowered to ensure that all nurses are protecting your safety? Does your hospital conduct regular safety training for its employees? What is your hospital doing to ensure you don’t suffer an added injury from a fall while in the hospital?
To learn more The Leapfrog group is a nonprofit formed by large employers seeking to improve hospital safety. Its impetus was a 1999 report by the Institute of Medicine finding that up to 98,000 Americans die every year from preventable medical errors made in hospitals. The term “leapfrog” denotes the organization’s hope that “leaps” forward could be taken in improving hospital quality and safety.
The website is hospitalsafetyscore.org. You can search hospitals by the name of a hospital, by city or by state. You also can click on “share your story” to report on medical harm or errors you might have experienced during a hospital stay. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services “Hospitals Compare” website is at www.hospitalscompare.hhs.gov. The Minnesota Hospital Association’s “Minnesota Hospital Quality Report” is available online at www.mnhospitalquality.org.