The University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) has been designated by the Leapfrog Group, as a Top Hospital of the Decade for patient safety and quality of care. The award recognizes the medical center's inclusion on the Leapfrog Top Hospital list every year since its inception in 2006.
All members of the UMMC medical staff are on the faculty of the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
The medical center shares the Top Hospital of the Decade honor with only one other hospital-Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, Wash. The awards were presented on Nov. 30 in Washington, D.C.
The Leapfrog Group's national survey measures hospital performance in a range of areas including patient care outcomes, use of best practices and patient safety initiatives, and measures of efficiency.
It is the only national public comparison of hospitals on key issues including preventing medication errors and infections and standards for performing high-risk procedures. Each year, Leapfrog adds new, more stringent performance measures and expands the criteria for hospitals to meet its standards.
"It is a tremendous honor to be one of only two hospitals in the nation recognized as a Leapfrog Top Hospital of the Decade for safety and quality. It demonstrates that our entire staff-including clinical leaders, physicians, nurses, pharmacists, therapists, and support staff-is focused on providing the best patient care every day," says Jeffrey A. Rivest, FACHE, MBA, president and chief executive officer of the University of Maryland Medical Center.
"The Leapfrog survey is a comprehensive, objective and up-to-date assessment of hospital performance in a wide range of areas that are critical to patient safety. It is an important resource for health care consumers when they are choosing a hospital for care," says Rivest.
The Leapfrog Group is a coalition of public and private purchasers of employee health coverage formed a decade ago to work for improvements (or "leaps") in health care safety, quality, and affordability.
Initially organized by the Business Roundtable, it is now an independent advocacy group working with a broad range of partners, including hospitals and insurers.
One of Leapfrog's key criteria is whether a hospital uses computerized physician order entry, which means that medications, lab tests, and imaging studies are ordered by physicians electronically, to reduce errors.
The University of Maryland Medical Center completed full implementation of computerized order entry, known as CPOE, three years ago. An added measure for 2010 was how effectively a hospital used CPOE to prevent medication errors.
"We met, and in some cases exceeded, all of Leapfrog's performance standards for CPOE and a variety of complex procedures, including aortic valve replacement, interventional cardiology procedures, bariatric surgery and high-risk deliveries," says Jonathan Gottlieb, MD, chief medical officer of the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Another important factor that Leapfrog evaluates is whether hospital intensive care units are staffed by physicians who have specialized training in intensive or critical care, known as intensivists.
"All 10 of our Intensive Care Units, including the surgical, medical, neurological, cardiac surgery, multi-trauma, and pediatric ICUs, are staffed by doctors who are specially trained in intensive and critical care," says Gottlieb.
The University of Maryland Medical Center also scored well on many of the safe practices selected by Leapfrog, such as nurse staffing, quality and leadership, hand hygiene, medication reconciliation, communication of critical information to patients and having leadership structure and systems in place to provide patient safety.
"The fact that we have been on the Leapfrog Group's list of the nation's top performing hospitals for the fifth year in a row demonstrates our intense focus on patient safety and quality of care." says Lisa Rowen, DNSc, RN, senior vice president for patient care services and chief nursing officer at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
"We have worked to create a collaborative, professional, and meaningful environment for our nurses and other patient care staff, which, in turn, provides a solid foundation for high-quality patient care," she says.
"Leapfrog has a great amount of credibility because it is founded on evidence-based practices 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," Rivest says.
He adds, "This recognition also validates the high level of support and partnership we have with the University of Maryland, Baltimore, especially our collaboration with the University of Maryland schools of medicine, nursing, pharmacy, social work and dentistry. Members of their faculty participate in many research-driven, quality-of-care projects within our hospital, helping us to elevate quality and patient safety to higher levels."
The University of Maryland Medical Center is a 757-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.
Click here to view a video about the award.