It’s not a secret strong nurse-patient ratios are linked to increased patient safety. However, the latest national safety scorecard from The Leapfrog Group, a not-for-profit analysis organization specializing in healthcare, noted the number of hospitals receiving failing grades in patient safety is rapidly increasing. CFOs and CNOs often have the difficult decision of determining the number of medical professionals the organization employs, and many times hospital administrators need to make the choice to either reduce nursing staff or incur higher costs. Yet hospital decision-makers should always keep patient safety in mind when reviewing cost saving strategies. With hospital scheduling software, patients don’t have to suffer.
Earning an ‘A’ grade
According to the Healthcare Financial Management Association, Leapfrog’s updated Hospital Safety Scores found the number of hospitals that received a failing grade in patient safety rose 27 percent year-over-year. The scorecard examined the safety performance of 2,539 hospitals across the U.S., ranking them on an A through F scale. While 150 health systems received a D and 22 hospitals were given an F, 813 health systems achieved an A, 661 organizations earned a B and 893 a C.
Leapfrog takes into account the number of clinical errors hospitals have, as well as the number of medication mix ups and patient infections. According to Leapfrog, the scorecard tries to make health systems aware of patient safety and reduce the number of inpatient injuries and fatalities. Overall, Leapfrog uses publicly available information to rank hospitals, and takes into account 28 measures to score health systems in patient safety, HRMA reported.
Despite many hospitals receiving failing scores, 3.5 percent of hospitals increased their ranking by two or more grade levels.
The score found no common factors among the hospitals with the low grades, yet low nurse staffing levels and inefficient workflows have often been attributed to an increase in medical errors. According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a previous report noted mistakes can often be traced to long shifts and a lack of patient supervision.
“Patient safety and quality have not been part of the education of nurses, or of physicians,” Alice Holmes, a registered nurse, told RWJF. “Today, nurses are taking a much more pro-active role, but we still have a long way to go.”
Low staffing levels and long hours often result in nurses feeling fatigued, being unable to provide adequate care to all patients. Each of these areas can compromise patient safety, and result in hospitals receiving failing grades.
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