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Why Patient Safety Grades Matter and How Your Practice Can Improve

As a healthcare provider, you know that patients have more access than ever to online rankings and reviews. The decision on whether or not to seek care from your practice or hospital may boil down to something as concise as its safety grade. The last thing you want is costly patient fallout due to poor inspection or survey results!

The good news is that improving your scores is beneficial for your organization’s reputation and for your patients—they’ll know that they’re in good hands every time they visit. Just like putting stock in hiring well and insuring each of your healthcare providers with business insurance for medical professionals, you must make sure your team is following protocol and also complying with inspections and surveys so your practice can put its best foot forward.

Here’s more on why patient safety grades matter and how your practice can improve.

Wake-Up Call: A Case Study

Ratings from the Leapfrog Group tend to matter in healthcare; other organizations and patients use reports like these as a litmus test to determine an organization’s trustworthiness. Last year, 15 hospitals earned an “F” grade for patient safety. Stony Brook University Hospital was one of them—primarily because of issues like infections and readmissions. Medicare even penalized this institution due to patient safety incidents, according to Healthcare Finance News.

The organization claims that part of the reason it fared so poorly in the rankings was because of errors on the survey portion. Leapfrog encouraged the institution to close the communication gaps between upper levels of management and frontline workers to enhance patient safety. A poor ranking can (and should) be a wake-up call to put in place new safety measures, streamline operations, reduce hazards and elevate patient safety on all fronts.

Ideas for Improving Safety

As Consumer Reports notes, one 2010 study from the Department of Health and Human Services shows that “infections, surgical mistakes, and other medical harm contribute to the deaths of 180,000 hospital patients a year. Another 1.4 million are seriously hurt by their hospital care.”

What can your practice or medical facility do? Whatever it takes to reduce errors, to start. Safety initiatives like up-to-date electronic records can prevent drug errors, while using checklists can help healthcare professionals identify the exact course of action to follow. Organization and transparency are key; your patients’ health could depend on them.

Never Underestimate Workplace Safety Concerns

And of course, to provide stellar patient care, your staff needs top-notch workplace safety standards. As one workers’ compensation expert writes for Physicians Practice, “This is their workforce, folks that come to work every day. They need to be sent home in the same condition that they arrived in.”

Long story short: Each staff member needs to know their role so they can administer accurate patient care. The overall environment should be safe, sterile and up-to-code. And business insurance for medical professionals (including workers’ compensation) is crucial for protecting front-line (and behind-the-scenes) workers.

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