UMMC Named as One of the Nations Top Hospitals for Safety and Quality Third Year in a Row

For immediate release: September 24, 2008


Bill Seiler

[email protected]

UMMC is among only 26 acute care hospitals nationwide to make Leapfrog list

For a third year in a row, the Leapfrog Group has named the University of Maryland Medical Center as one of the nation’s best acute-care hospitals for patient safety and quality of care. This prestigious recognition was awarded to only 26 acute care hospitals and seven children’s hospitals nationwide.

The Leapfrog survey, which is the most complete, up-to-date assessment of hospital quality and safety, uses objective criteria to rate hospitals, such as patient care outcomes, use of best practices and patient safety initiatives. The criteria also include the number of specific high-risk procedures that are performed, in addition to staffing levels.

Leapfrog added new and more stringent measurements for its 2008 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 more than 1,200 hospitals that submitted data and documentation for the 2008 Leapfrog Hospital Quality and Safety Survey.

“Excellent patient care and patient safety are our top priorities, and being on the Leapfrog Group’s list of the nation’s top performing hospitals for the third year in a row demonstrates our focus on these priorities. It is an acknowledgement of the diligence and dedication of our staff—the doctors, nurses, pharmacists, therapists and support staff— who provide outstanding care for patients every day and promote a culture of safety,” says Jeffrey A. Rivest, president and chief executive officer of the University of Maryland Medical Center.

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. 

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. It is one of the criteria used by Leapfrog in its evaluation. The University of Maryland Medical Center completed full implementation of computerized order entry in August 2007, which is a significant achievement.

The Leapfrog survey also looks at a hospital’s performance in common procedures as well as at the volume of high-risk procedures. A high number usually represents better outcomes.

The Leapfrog Group’s survey included a list of complex procedures and surgeries, and the University of Maryland Medical Center met, and in many cases exceeded, the standard set by Leapfrog.

For example, the medical center performed 148 aortic valve replacements in the past year, while the Leapfrog standard was 120. There were 787 percutaneous coronary interventions (such as balloon angioplasty) in one year at the medical center, while the Leapfrog standard was 400. For abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, 61 were performed at the medical center and the Leapfrog standard was 50. The volume of pancreatic resection surgeries at the medical center was 49 while the Leapfrog standard was 11.

In addition, the medical center’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit cared for 114 very low birth weight babies, significantly exceeding the Leapfrog standard of 50.

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 many specialty intensive care units, including the surgical, medical, neurological, cardiac surgery, multi-trauma and pediatric ICUs.

Attention to adequate staffing and good communication among health care workers and between those workers and patients are also part of the Leapfrog Group’s criteria. These are also areas in which the medical center scored high for the third year in a row.

“We have worked to create a collaborative, professional and meaningful environment for our nurses and other patient care staff, which is key to recruiting and retaining the best staff,” says Lisa Rowen, DNSc, RN, senior vice president for Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer at the medical center. “Our goal is to provide the safest care anywhere, and inclusion on the Leapfrog list is recognition that our staff are working hard to achieve that goal every day,” says Dr. Rowen.

“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 our caregivers can produce excellence,” Rivest says.

The University of Maryland Medical Center is a 705-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.