The Benefits of a High Leapfrog Score: How Cadence Clinical Services Helps Hospitals Improve Patient Safety

Picture of Jill Larkin
Jill Larkin

When consumers need medical care and are choosing which hospital to receive this care, they often look for one that has a high patient safety rating. They know their experience as a patient will be affected by the quality of care they receive. By prioritizing patient safety and achieving a high Leapfrog score, hospitals can earn the trust and confidence of healthcare consumers, which can be a key factor in attracting new patients and retaining existing ones.

Under the realm of patient safety is a range of factors that directly affect patient care. First and foremost, the assurance that patient safety is a priority for the organization should be woven into the day-to-day work of all members of the healthcare team. Secondly, the focus is on proactive strategies to protect the patient from possible complications such as hospital-acquired infections and medication errors.

Understanding why patients expect a high level of safety is clear and achieving this standard is not always easy in our complex healthcare organizations. Focusing on patient safety is a key strategy of preventable harm. These efforts can assist with not only keeping patients safe, but also decreasing healthcare costs and ensuring appropriate resource utilization. Incidents of unsafe care can negatively impact the reputation of organizations along with the trust of patients, families, and communities.

The Importance of the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade

The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade signals to patients, payers, potential employees, and the public that a hospital is committed to providing high-quality care. A high safety grade aligns with improved financial performance as the hospital can receive appropriate reimbursements from payers. Also reflected in the score is the hospital staff’s dedication and commitment to providing the best possible care to their patients.

Engaging patients actively in their treatment plan supports better goals and outcomes, a critical component of patient safety. Leapfrog utilizes patient experience results to determine a hospital’s patient safety score by evaluating structural measures that are set in place to support high-quality, safe, and effective care. Examples of patient experience measures that Leapfrog evaluates include:

  • Doctor and nurse communication: These measures evaluate the effectiveness of nurse and doctor communication with patients. Patients are asked to rate how well doctors and nurses communicated with them, whether or not they felt heard, and if they explained things in a way they could understand.
  • Staff responsiveness: This determines the responsiveness of hospital staff to patients’ needs and requests. Patients are asked to rate how quickly staff responded to their requests for help, how often they received help as soon as they requested it, and if hospital staff treated them with courtesy and respect.
  • Communication about medicines: This measure shows how well hospital staff communicated with patients about their medications. Patients are asked to rate how well hospital staff explained the purpose, side effects, and dosages of their medications, and whether they were given information about what to do if they experienced any side effects.
  • Discharge information: This reflects how well hospital staff provided information to patients about their care after discharge. Patients are asked to rate how well hospital staff explained the warning signs of potential complications and what to do if they had questions or problems after leaving the hospital.

Other structural measures Leapfrog utilizes to determine the patient safety grade include barcode medication administration, nursing workforce, computerized physician order entry, ICU physician staffing, leadership, culture of safety, and hand hygiene. In addition, outcome measures are used to calculate  safety grades such as NHSN data related to specific infections.  By evaluating both structural and outcome measures, Leapfrog information allows hospitals to celebrate areas of successful safety processes in place. It also provides a roadmap to help identify areas where hospitals may need to invest in resources, training, or policies to improve patient safety and quality of care.

Cadence Clinical Services Helps Hospitals Improve Patient Safety

Cadence Clinical Services understands the importance of patient safety on patients and healthcare organizations and helps partner hospitals take the necessary steps to achieve a notable Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade. Ways we help hospitals improve their Leapfrog safety grade are through:

  • Education: Cadence’s team of experts provides comprehensive training programs to hospital staff – from clinicians to administrative staff – to ensure that everyone understands the importance of patient safety and how to implement best practices.
  • Individual coaching to hospital staff: Our team works with staff members to identify areas where they can improve their performance and provides guidance and support to help them make the necessary changes.
  • Reviewing hospital data: We analyze data from various sources to identify trends and areas where hospitals can make improvements. We work with hospital staff to develop targeted strategies to address these areas of concern, helping them improve patient safety and overall quality of care.
  • Resources and strategies on how to improve: Cadence Clinical Services helps hospitals identify areas of improvement and recommends how to make changes that can boost their Leapfrog scores. By analyzing their performance, we can suggest specific strategies and interventions that hospitals can implement to enhance patient safety and quality.

By using our approach and working towards achieving an improved Leapfrog score, hospitals can prepare for surveys and improve clinical performance. The score will reveal where they need to focus their efforts to improve care and become survey-ready. Hospitals can identify opportunities for clinical improvement and invest in targeted interventions to address areas in need of improvement. Prioritizing patient safety and quality can improve value-based purchasing reimbursement and increase partnerships, leading to better financial outcomes and improved population health.

Cadence Clinical Services works to improve your hospital’s performance and adopt strategies to boost Leapfrog scores, allowing hospitals to enhance patient safety, reduce costs, and achieve better clinical outcomes. These efforts can also improve the overall patient experience, engage the patient to partner for safety, and promote greater trust in the healthcare system. As we move through an evolving healthcare landscape, let’s continue to prioritize patient safety as a cornerstone of quality care and leverage the tools and resources available to us to make it as high-quality as possible.

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