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U.S. Hospitals Show Improvements in Meeting Surgical Safety Standards but Major Deficiencies Remain
WASHINGTON D.C. - The Leapfrog Group, an independent national health care watchdog organization, today released Safety In Numbers: Hospital Performance on Leapfrog’s Surgical Volume Standard Based on Results of the 2019 Leapfrog Hospital Survey. The report analyzes whether hospitals are performing a sufficient volume of high-risk surgeries to safely do so, and whether the hospital grants privileges only to surgeons meeting the Leapfrog minimum volume standard. The report also records whether hospitals actively monitor to assure that each surgery is necessary.

Highlights from the 2019 report include:
  • The majority of hospitals are still electively performing high-risk procedures without the adequate, ongoing experience to do so.
  • There has been improvement: a higher percentage of hospitals are meeting Leapfrog’s minimum volume standards in 2019 than 2018.
  • To the credit of rural hospitals, the vast majority do not perform these high-risk surgeries. Those that do are much less likely than other hospitals to meet the volume standard for patient safety
  • A sizeable percentage of hospitals have implemented protocols to monitor for appropriateness, potentially protecting patients from getting unnecessary surgeries.

“The good news is we are seeing progress on surgical safety. The bad news is the vast majority of hospitals performing these high-risk procedures are not meeting clear volume standards for safety. This is very disturbing, as a mountain of studies show us that patient risk of complications or death is dramatically higher in low-volume operating rooms,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “It’s time for hospitals and health systems to upgrade their surgical volume policies. It will save lives.”

View the news release and full report here.