By MERRILEE GASSER
THE CENTER SQUARE CONTRIBUTOR
(The Center Square) – Hospitals in Hawaii ranked among the best for patient safety during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report.
The Leapfrog Group, a national watchdog organization that assigns letter grades to hospitals based on patient safety measures, ranked Hawaii 6th in the nation. Fifty percent of its hospitals received an “A” grade in the report.
The state demonstrated improvements in patient safety since Fall 2021 when Hawaii ranked 7th and had 46.2% of its hospitals receive A’s.
The overview of the report showed a general decrease in patient safety nationwide during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Only 33% of the nearly 3,000 hospitals the group analyzed received an “A,” 24% received a “B,” 36% received a “C,” 7% received a “D,” and less than 1% received an “F.”
The report calculated the letter grades based on over 30 patient safety measures, including nursing workforce, nurse and doctor communication, staff responsiveness, communication about medicine, and patient outcomes, among other things.
It also evaluated patient experience data, which remains a strong indicator of patient safety, the report said. It reinforced the group’s findings that the pandemic negatively impacted the safety of hospital care, with patients’ experience with inpatient hospital care declining “significantly” and inpatients reporting less favorably across almost all domains of patient experience, according to the report.
An investigation into the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Hospital Survey (HCAHPS) discovered fewer patients felt their doctors and nurses listened to them or treated them with respect during the pandemic. It also found decreases in the responsiveness of hospital staff and patients were less likely to feel their doctors and nurses carefully explained new medications or side effects.
“Even before the pandemic, patients indicated the least favorable responses about clearly understanding their care transition once they left the hospital: whether they were aware of their responsibilities and purpose of their medications, and if their preferences were taken into account,” the report said. “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 Leapfrog Group said its hospital safety grades reports are to give people the information they need to make informed decisions about where to receive their health care services.
The five states with the highest percentage of hospitals that received an “A” were North Carolina, Virginia, Utah, Colorado, and Michigan. Four states had no “A” hospitals: Wyoming, West Virginia, the District of Columbia, and North Dakota.