At our recent Quality Breakfast, we recognized the ten New Jersey hospitals that received the Leapfrog 2017 Top Hospital designation. There was a common theme among the hospital leaders who spoke on our panel: The safety grade is not the goal.
The goal is “chasing zero.”
Work toward creating a culture of safety, they said, and inevitably the top safety grades and distinctions will follow.
The hospital leaders talked about not being satisfied with below average rates of, say, CLABSI, or central line-associated blood stream infections. Several of the top hospitals reported no CLABSI or no catheter-associated urinary tract infections for a year or even longer — measurements considered unthinkable just a few years ago.
They said the results come from hard work, including constant practitioner “huddles” to apply best practices, such as removing catheters the minute they are no longer needed. The hospital leaders described a constant focus on goals and a swift recognition of problems as they emerge.
The stakes are high. The top five health-care associated infections kill and harm patients and also cost the nation’s health care system more than $9 billion annually.
I remember when hospitals pushed back on Leapfrog and the public reporting of patient safety measures. Now, these hospitals, and most in New Jersey, voluntarily report to Leapfrog and embrace its role as a well-designed quality reporting system that helps hospitals improve care and patient safety.
“We used to say, ‘If you don’t measure, you don’t improve.’ Now we know it’s more complex: ‘If you don’t measure and publish, you don’t improve,’’ said John Bonamo, MD, MS, FACOG, Chief Medical and Quality Officer at RWJBarnabas.
The hospital leaders expressed no tolerance for physicians or employees who do not embrace quality improvement. Those days are pretty much over. Everyone, from nurses to housekeepers to food service staff members to surgeons, must work together to create a culture of safety on every level.
Our panelists represented CarePoint Health Bayonne Medical Center and CarePoint Health-Christ Hospital; Inspira Medical Center Vineland; Jefferson Stratford Hospital; Morristown Medical Center; Jersey City Medical Center, Monmouth Medical Center and Saint Barnabas Medical Center; and Virtua Voorhees Hospital. Capital Health Regional Medical Center was also a 2017 Leapfrog Top Hospital.
We are thankful that 94 percent of the hospitals in New Jersey publicly report to Leapfrog. In 2018, let’s get to 100 percent reporting and together keep chasing zero for the benefit of everyone needing care in the Garden State.