Healthgrades on Tuesday released its annual lists of top hospitals for patient safety and patient experience.
To determine the top hospitals for patient experience, Healthgrades analyzed 3,489 hospitals' HCAHPS survey scores for admissions between April 2015 and March 2016. Overall, Healthgrades awarded 443 hospitals, representing the top 15 percent of hospitals nationally, its 2017 Outstanding Patient Experience Award.
To determine the top hospitals for patient safety, Healthgrades evaluated hospitals on 13 indicators defined by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Overall, the organization awarded 460 hospitals its 2017 Patient Safety Excellence Award—representing the top 10 percent of hospitals evaluated.
According to a release, more than 134,000 patient safety events could have been avoided on average if "all hospitals performed similarly to hospitals performing better than expected on each of 13 patient safety indicators evaluated by Healthgrades."
Safety and outcomes
The company also released an infographic detailing which areas account for the bulk of patient safety events. According to Healthgrades, 75 percent of such events occur in four areas:
- Accidental cut, puncture, perforation, or hemorrhage, particularly during colorectal, bowel obstruction, and small intestine surgeries (25.7 percent);
- Collapsed lung during a procedure or surgery in or near the chest (24.3 percent);
- Hospital-acquired catheter-related bloodstream infections (15.9 percent); and
- Pressures sores or bedsores (7.9 percent).
Moreover, Healthgrades found that hospitals deemed top performers in patient safety had better clinical outcomes in areas such as joint replacement, cardiology, and orthopedics than hospitals that did not make the list. Those top performers were also more likely than non-recipients to have a five-star rating for in-hospital mortality rates and complication outcomes.
Brad Bowman, Healthgrades' CMO, said, "The Healthgrades research reveals hospitals that prioritize patient safety are also more likely to achieve high-quality outcomes for their patients." He added, "What does this mean to the average health care consumer? That they should put hospitals with high marks in patient safety at the top of their list for care" (Healthgrades release, 4/4; Healthgrades methodology, 4/4, Healthgrades infographic, 4/4).
What nurses can do to elevate HCAHPS scores
The HCAHPS survey puts the assessment of hospital performance in patients' hands. Patients rate the care they receive in areas like pain management, communication with nurses, and responsiveness of hospital staff, and can then use the results to compare different hospitals in their area.
Health systems thus have the challenge of outperforming neighboring systems, and the opportunity to earn bonuses and identify specific performance improvement opportunities. Watch our video to learn why nurses are key players in the effort to boost their hospitals' HCAHPS scores, and how they can help their organizations stay ahead of the competition.