Hospitals recognized for patient safety

More than 400 hospitals were honored with the Healthgrades 2022 Patient Safety Excellence Awards. The group’s report also cited four common incidents affecting the health of patients.

As gains in patient safety appear to have eroded during the COVID-19 pandemic, some hospitals stand out in their work in protecting patients, according to a new report.

Healthgrades has selected 448 hospitals as recipients of the group’s 2022 Patient Safety Excellence Awards.

The organization, which touts its ability to help consumers find the best hospitals, said those healthcare providers excelled in preventing serious injuries during hospital stays. The report coincides with Patient Safety Awareness Week.

The report comes as federal officials have warned that patient safety has taken a hit during the coronavirus pandemic. Federal officials have indicated they would be taking a closer look at healthcare providers.

The U.S. Labor Department recently announced it would begin focused inspections of hospitals and nursing homes over the next three months. The inspections will focus on how facilities are treating COVID-19 patients and protecting workers.

Federal officials have cited troubling indicators of declines in patient safety. Some gains in previous years were quickly wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said. In an analysis published in the New England Journal of Medicine, leaders with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pointed to several worrisome signs, including a sharp rise in infections.

While the pandemic has clearly posed unprecedented challenges for hospitals, federal officials said the reversal of progress in protecting patients suggests a greater commitment to safety is needed in the industry.

Brad Bowman, chief medical officer and head of data science at Healthgrades, noted the heightened scrutiny of patient safety.

“With the continued influx of patients into our healthcare systems due to the COVID-19 pandemic, patient safety and exceptional care is at the forefront of hospital leaders and consumer minds alike,” Bowman said in a statement accompanying the results.

Healthgrades studied Medicare patient records from 2018 through 2020 and reported that there were 170,231 potentially preventable patient safety events in U.S. hospitals.

If all hospitals performed as well as the patient safety award recipients, 100,189 patient safety events could have been avoided, the group concluded.

The Healthgrades report cited four common events that harm patients.

  • In-hospital fall resulting in hip fracture (22.2% of patient safety events);
  • Collapsed lung due to a procedure or surgery (21.1% of patient safety events);
  • Pressure sores or bed sores acquired in the hospital (15.3% of patient safety events); and
  • Catheter-related bloodstream infections acquired in the hospital (15.0% of patient safety events).

The hospitals receiving patient safety awards performed much better in those four areas, according to Healthgrades.

They were:

  • 55.8% less likely to have a fall resulting in hip fracture, compared to patients treated at non-recipient hospitals;
  • 52.6% less likely to experience a collapsed lung resulting from a surgery, than patients treated at non-recipient hospitals;
  • 66.2% less likely to experience pressure sores or bed sores than patients treated at non-recipient hospitals; and
  • 65.8% less likely to experience catheter-related bloodstream infections than patients treated at nonrecipient hospitals.

View the full list of hospitals receiving patient safety awards at Healthgrades.

Healthgrades also recently produced a list looking at the hospitals who excelled in caring for COVID-19 patients.