The Fall 2023 Hospital Safety Grades report by The Leapfrog Group indicates a positive trend in American hospitals’ patient safety, with significant reductions in hospital-acquired infections. Despite this improvement, patient experience scores have continued to decline for the second consecutive year. The report, assessing over 3,000 hospitals, revealed that 30% received an “A” grade. Utah led with the most top-rated hospitals. The study also highlighted the challenges of hospital staff retention and shortages, suggesting they might be contributing to the declining patient experiences. Hospital innovation was emphasized as crucial to address these concerns.
The Fall 2023 Hospital Safety Grades report from The Leapfrog Group signals encouraging progress in patient safety across American hospitals, showcasing substantial decreases in hospital-acquired infections. However, amidst these advancements, patient experience ratings have faced a second consecutive year of decline. Examining over 3,000 hospitals, the report unveiled that 30% attained an “A” grade, with Utah emerging as the leader with the highest number of top-rated hospitals. Notably, the study underscored the persisting hurdles of hospital staff retention and shortages, potentially contributing to diminishing patient satisfaction. The report emphasized the pivotal role of hospital innovation in addressing these challenges effectively.
The fall 2023 Hospital Safety Grades from The Leapfrog Group reveal that American hospitals are on the path to recovery after a decline in patient safety during the pandemic, especially concerning hospital-acquired infections. However, patient experience scores have continued to decrease for the second consecutive year.
Binder Urges Hospital Innovation Amidst Deteriorating Patient Experiences
The President and CEO of The Leapfrog Group, Leah Binder, expressed optimism about the improved infection rates post-pandemic, commending hospitals for reversing the concerning infection trends observed during the pandemic. Nevertheless, she raised concerns about the persistent decline in patient-reported healthcare experiences.
The semi-annual report assigns letter grades to participating hospitals based on various patient safety and quality metrics, aiming to empower healthcare consumers to make informed choices. The fall 2023 report, the first to exclusively use post-pandemic data, assessed over 3,000 hospitals.
The results showed that 30% of hospitals received an “A” grade, 24% received a “B,” 39% received a “C,” 7% received a “D,” and less than 1% received an “F.” Notably, Utah had the most “A”-rated hospitals, with other top-performing states including Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Connecticut, Montana, Tennessee, Florida, and Texas. Conversely, Vermont, Wyoming, Delaware, Washington DC, and North Dakota had no “A”-rated hospitals.
The report highlights significant progress in improving patient safety in the nation’s hospitals after a pandemic-related peak. Hospitals notably reduced the rates of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI), and catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI), which are common and dangerous hospital-acquired infections.
Comparing this to the fall 2022 Safety Grade cycle, hospitals witnessed a 35% increase in the average standard infection ratios (SIRs) of CLABSI and MRSA from pre-pandemic levels, along with a 20% increase in CAUTI.
In the 2023 Safety Grades, 85% of hospitals exhibited improvement in at least one of the three hospital-acquired infections assessed in the report, with 19% showing improvement in all three. Only 16% saw their performance worsen or remain stagnant.
Despite advancements in patient safety, the report underscores a consistent decline in the patient experience. As part of the Safety Grades, The Leapfrog Group evaluates patient feedback regarding nurse communication, doctor communication, staff responsiveness, communication about medication, and discharge information. Each of these domains is closely tied to patient safety.
Overall, patient experience domains saw a successive decline over two years, notably in medication communication and staff responsiveness. Binder highlighted staffing challenges as a probable cause, stressing the need for hospital innovation. The ongoing downtrend inpatient experiences underscores the urgency for change. Enhancing the patient journey is imperative, given the disheartening and unsustainable nature of the current outcomes. Addressing staff retention and shortages remains pivotal, signaling the necessity for innovative solutions to uphold and elevate the quality of patient care.