U-M Hospitals Win Award for Being Among the Safest

The University of Michigan hospitals are among the safest and most effective hospitals in the country, according to a new national ranking from the respected independent healthcare quality rating organization, The Leapfrog Group. This is the second year in a row, and third year overall, that Leapfrog named the U-M Hospitals and Health Centers a top hospital. The announcement is being made at Leapfrog's 11th annual meeting today in Washington, D.C.

The U-M Hospitals and Health Centers ranks among 65 institutions named 2011 Leapfrog Top Hospitals, based on a rating system that provides a detailed assessment of a hospital's safety and quality. The top hospitals list includes university and other teaching hospitals, children's hospitals and community hospitals in urban, suburban and rural settings. U-M is one of five Michigan hospitals on the list.

And, U-M is one of only four hospitals in the nation ranked by both the Leapfrog Group and U.S. News & World Report, another top health care quality rating organization.

"It is an honor for the University of Michigan to receive this national award for safety and quality," says Doug Strong, chief executive officer of the U-M Hospitals and Health Centers. "The award is a very nice recognition of how we put our patients and families first."

Though long regarded among the nation's best for high-quality care, UMHHC has made patient safety issues a top priority since 2000.

Darrell A. Campbell Jr., M.D., chief medical officer of UMHHC, and Henry King Ransom Professor of Surgery at the U-M Medical School, leads the patient safety program.

"At the University of Michigan, we live quality 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year," Campbell says. "Our goal is to be the safest hospital in the country. An award such as this shows that every day we come closer to our goal."

Some recent successes include the following:

- Reduction in infections at the site of surgical procedures
- Reduced medication errors
- Improved hand hygiene by clinical staff
- Required flu shots for clinical staff
- Improved treatment to prevent blood clots in surgical patients
- Fewer unnecessary radiological tests (such as CTs and MRIs)
Campbell emphasizes that effective lines of communication between patients and their doctors is a crucial part of a patient safety environment.

"Safety is a team effort at the University of Michigan," says Margaret Calarco, PhD, RN, senior associate director of Patient Care and chief, Nursing Services, UMHHC, and adjunct professor of nursing, School of Nursing. "We all work closely together as a healthcare team in partnership with our patients and families to make the greatest difference in our patient safety efforts."

The 2011 Top Hospitals list is based on the results from nearly 1,200 hospitals that responded to the Leapfrog Group's Hospital Quality and Safety Survey. The survey focuses on four critical areas of patient safety: the use of computer physician order entry (CPOE) to prevent medication errors; standards for doing high-risk procedures such as heart surgery; protocols and policies to reduce medical errors and other safe practices recommended by the National Quality Forum; and adequate nurse and physician staffing.

As a Leapfrog 2011 Top Hospital, the University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Systems met all four criteria for safe, high-quality care. For information about University of Michigan Health System's quality and safety efforts, including performance measures, see http://www.uofmhealth.org/quality.

In addition, hospitals are measured on their progress in preventing infections and other hospital-acquired conditions and adopting policies on the handling of serious medical errors, among other things.

The Leapfrog Group is a coalition of public and private purchasers of employee health coverage founded in 2000 to work for improvements in health care safety, quality and affordability. A complete list of 2011 Leapfrog Top Hospitals is available at its website.

Every year, UMHS has more than 44,800 admissions, 81,000 emergency services/urgent care visits and 46,000 surgical cases.

The University of Michigan Health System includes the U-M Hospitals & Health Centers, which comprises: three hospitals (University Hospital, C.S. Mott Children's Hospital and Von Voigtlander Women's Hospital) and dozens of outpatient health centers and clinics; the U-M Medical School with its Faculty Group Practice and extensive research and education programs; and the clinical operations of the U-M School of Nursing.

UMHS has been recognized many times for excellence in patient care, including 17 years on the honor roll of "America's Best Hospitals," as compiled by U.S. News & World Report.