UMMC Leaps onto Exclusive List of Nations Top 41 Hospitals for Safety and Quality

For immediate release: September 18, 2007


Bill Seiler

[email protected]

UMMC makes "Leapfrog Top Hospitals" list second year in a row

In recognition of its top levels of performance in patient safety and quality of care, the University of Maryland Medical Center has been named for the second year in a row to the Leapfrog Group’s elite list of the nation’s best acute-care hospitals. The Leapfrog Group uses objective criteria to rate hospitals based on outcomes and patient volume for selected high-risk procedures in addition to staffing levels and specific measures taken to ensure patient safety.

The Leapfrog Group survey is the most complete, up-to-date assessment of hospital quality and safety. This year’s list includes only 41 hospitals (33 general acute care hospitals and eight children’s hospitals), while last year there were 50 hospitals. Leapfrog added new and more stringent measurements for its 2007 Top Hospitals list, and some hospitals that were on last year’s list did not satisfy this year’s criteria. The University of Maryland Medical Center was among 1,285 hospitals that submitted data and documentation for the 2007 Leapfrog Hospital Quality and Safety Survey.

“Inclusion on the Leapfrog Group’s list of the nation’s top performing hospitals for the second year in a row demonstrates our continuous focus on quality patient care and patient safety,” says Jeffrey A. Rivest, president and chief executive officer of the University of Maryland Medical Center. “It is a reflection of the diligence and dedication of our clinical staff—the doctors, nurses, pharmacists, therapists and support staff who provide excellent care for patients every day,” adds Rivest.

The Leapfrog Group was founded by the Business Roundtable to represent the nation’s largest corporations and public agencies that buy health benefits for employees. The organization intends to use its influence to initiate breakthrough improvements – or “leaps” – in health care safety, quality and affordability.

“Once again this year, we earned the highest possible scores from Leapfrog for our activities to prevent infections, medication errors, and complications,” says Timothy J. Babineau, MD, MBA, the senior vice president and chief medical officer for the University of Maryland Medical Center.

A key factor for safety and quality is a hospital’s implementation of electronic order entry, which means that lab tests, imaging studies and medications are ordered by physicians electronically, to reduce errors. According to Dr. Babineau, “We have now fully implemented computerized order entry throughout the University of Maryland Medical Center, which is a significant achievement.” Of the hospitals that responded to the Leapfrog survey, only one in 10 had fully implemented computerized physician order entry.

The Leapfrog survey also looks at the number of high-risk procedures performed at each hospital as part of its criteria, since the higher the number and the more experience an institution has, the better the outcomes. This year, the Leapfrog Group survey added information about bariatric and aortic valve surgery to the list and included surgeon experience in these and other high-risk surgeries to evaluate hospitals.

The University of Maryland Medical Center performed 145 bariatric surgeries in the past year, while the Leapfrog standard was 100. For aortic valve replacement, 132 were performed and the Leapfrog standard was 120. The medical center had 945 cases of percutaneous coronary intervention (such as balloon angioplasty) in one year, and the Leapfrog standard was 400.

Other areas where the medical center’s volume exceeded the Leapfrog standard were abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, esophagectomy, pancreatic resection, high-risk deliveries and neonatal ICU cases.

Also important to the Leapfrog Group is whether hospitals staff their intensive care units with physicians who have specialized training in intensive or critical care. Such specialists, known as intensivists, care for patients in the University of Maryland Medical Center’s surgical, medical, neurological, cardiac surgery, multi-trauma and pediatric ICUs.

Attention to adequate staffing of nurses and good communication among health care workers and between those workers and patients are also part of the Leapfrog Group’s criteria, and are two areas in which the medical center scored high.

“The recruitment and retention of an exceptional group of nurses is crucial to providing excellent care,” says Lisa Rowen, DNSc, RN, senior vice president for Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer at the University of Maryland Medical Center. “Creating a collaborative, professional and enriching environment for our nurses and other patient care staff is one of our top priorities,” she adds.

“In contrast to many other health care rankings and report cards, Leapfrog has a great amount of credibility because it is founded on evidence-based medicine and on actual clinical processes and patient care data, rather than relying substantially on opinions and reputations. It is for that reason that we are especially proud of this national recognition and it shows how a strong partnership among all staff can produce excellence,” Rivest says.

The University of Maryland Medical Center is a 689-bed teaching hospital in downtown Baltimore that provides a full range of health care to people from throughout Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic region. It is a referral center for the most serious and complicated health problems in adults and children, including cancer, trauma, heart disease, neurological conditions and organ transplants. All members of the UMMC medical staff are on the faculty of the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

For patient inquiries or to make an appointment, call 1-800-492-5538.