North Dakota hospitals worst in nation for performance

North Dakota is the worst in the nation for hospital safety, according to a new report from the Leapfrog Group.

The state came in last place with zero of its hospitals receiving an “A” grade, unmoved from its ranking in Fall 2021 when none of the hospitals analyzed by the Leapfrog Group received an “A.”

It was among only four states in the nation found to have no hospitals worthy of an “A.” The others were Wyoming, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

The Leapfrog Group is a national watchdog organization focused on transparently reporting hospital performance so individuals can make informed decisions when choosing where to receive their healthcare services. It rates hospitals based on their prevention of medical errors and harm to patients, according to the group.

The report assigned letter grades to nearly 3,000 general acute-care hospitals across the nation using over 30 measures of patient safety and data on patient experience. It found the COVID-19 pandemic caused a drastic decline in hospital safety and patient experience.

“As national trends have indicated, COVID-19 has negatively impacted patient safety in hospitals,” the report said. “Key areas of patient experience that worsened were likely associated with the strain health care workers endured during the height of the pandemic. The largest difference comparing adult patient experience in hospitals pre-pandemic and mid[1]pandemic is in Responsiveness of Hospital Staff with a 3.7-point decrease. Patients were less likely to receive help when needed, which can lead to potentially serious safety lapses. Communication about Medicines, reflecting patients’ feedback on how often hospital staff explained the purpose of new medication and potential side effects, is another significant patient safety concern.”

Authors said the strain on the workforce likely led to many lapses in care identified. Patients reported less favorable responses to Cleanliness of the Hospital survey questions. Care transition, which evaluates whether patients have a good understanding of their transition out of the hospital and if they understand the purpose of their medications, received the worst responses.

“Providing clear, understandable discharge information, like symptoms or health problems to monitor, can reduce harm and the likelihood of a patient being readmitted to the hospital,” the report said.

It also found fewer patients felt their doctors and nurses carefully listened to them or treated them with respect during the pandemic.

“The health care workforce has faced unprecedented levels of pressure during the pandemic, and as a result, patients’ experience with their care appears to have suffered,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “We commend the workforce for their heroic efforts these past few years and now strongly urge hospital leadership to recommit to improved care—from communication to responsiveness—and get back on track with patient safety outcomes.”

This article was originally posted on North Dakota hospitals worst in nation for performance

Author: Merrilee Gasser

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