Recently updated safety grades for hospitals show that Via Christi scores have dropped since last year, while Wesley Medical Center’s scores have improved.
The grades are given by the Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit entity that scores hospitals’ performance based on such factors as rates of surgical site infections, patient falls and hospital acquired illnesses.
Data comes from the Leapfrog Hospital Survey, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Grades are issued every six months.
Earlier this year, Via Christi president and CEO Jeff Korsmo said a goal for the hospital system would be to improve its Leapfrog rating for patient safety from a C to an A. However, the updated scores give D’s to Via Christi Hospital St. Joseph and Via Christi Hospital St. Francis in that category. Via Christi Hospital St. Teresa was not scored because it is too new to have enough data. The health system’s hospitals in Manhattan and Pittsburg, Kan., received C grades for patient safety.
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Stephen Nesbit, chief medical officer for Via Christi Health, said Via Christi has not yet implemented a computerized physician order entry system across all of its hospitals that would help it improve the patient safety score. He said the new $75 million system should be implemented sometime next summer.
“We’re not really chasing the score so much as continuing down our path or journey of improvement,” said Nesbit, who said culture change doesn’t happen overnight. “The biggest disappointment is that with Leapfrog’s method, we aren’t yet getting credit for our work over the past six to nine months.”
Nesbit said Via Christi continues to have its performance improvement teams look at changing processes in how patients are cared for to improve the quality of care.
“Sure, we’re disappointed, but is this going to change anything? No. We’re going to stay the course and we’re confident that will impact our grade in the future,” Nesbit said.
Wesley Medical Center’s patient safety score rose from a C to a B.
Joann Paul, market director of quality and infection prevention for Wesley, said that several factors, including reduced hospital acquired infections and a new computerized provider order entry system, helped improved the score.
“The computerized provider order entry system helps physicians order medications and labs straight into the computer. In the old days, when we were all on paper, physicians would hand-write orders, and there were issues with legibility,” she said.
“Now when a provider puts in an order for a chest X-ray, it immediately goes to the radiology department and the procedure is sped up. But where you really see the benefits is with pharmacy, where the pharmacy can make sure there are correct dosages for patients ... and it really has an impact on patient safety.”
Leapfrog’s scoring method is more thorough than some other health reports because it uses data from a variety of sources, Paul said.
But she added, “Is the letter grade a magic score? I’m not sure I would go there.”