UNC Wins Leapfrog Top Hospitals Award

About two years ago, we placed an increased emphasis on quality at UNC Health Care, and the results of those efforts are becoming more and more apparent to the third party organizations that evaluate us.

Last week UNC Health Care's hospitals were named among the 50 best in the United States, based on results from the Leapfrog Hospital Quality and Safety Survey. This recognition by Leapfrog is yet another telling benchmark that indicates we are moving in the right direction. Close attention to the quality of health care our patients and their families receive is at the heart of everything we do here.

The survey, a national rating system that offers a broad assessment of a hospital's quality and safety, was conducted by The Leapfrog Group, an organization that promotes improvements in the safety, quality and affordability of health care.

The survey polled more than 1,200 acute-care hospitals nationwide and asked about their awareness and action on 30 Safe Practices for Better Healthcare that are endorsed by the National Quality Forum, an organization whose board I chair.

Two other Triangle hospitals also made the list Duke University Hospital in Durham and WakeMed's Raleigh campus. We congratulate our colleagues and friends at both institutions for the remarkable strides they've made in improving their quality of care.

UNC Health Care, however, is one of only six state-supported public institutions on the list. We take special pride in this knowing that as we meet the mission of caring for all North Carolinians, we can deliver the highest quality of care for every patient.

The quality assessment focused on four key questions:

1. Do physicians enter patient prescriptions and other orders into computers linked to error prevention software?

2. Are intensive care units staffed by trained ICU specialists (intensivists)?

3. How well do hospitals perform five high-risk procedures and care for two high-risk neonatal conditions?

4. How well are hospitals progressing on the other 27 National Quality Forum safe practices?

The facilities that met the high-quality standards set by Leapfrog were named to the Top Hospitals list. UNC Health Care is proud to be among this select group.

If adopted by hospitals nation wide, these standards could save 65,000 lives, prevent up to 907,000 serious medical errors, and cut $41.5 billion in health care costs every year. Those are astounding numbers and all hospitals need to make concerted efforts to reach the Leapfrog benchmark.