The number of hospitals submitting information on their compliance with Leapfrog Group quality standards jumped nearly 60% in one year's time, with 1,012 hospitals reporting their progress in meeting the business coalition's minimum requirements for computerized physician order entry, deployment of specialists in intensive-care medicine and evidence-based referrals for certain kinds of high-risk care. But comparisons of a survey released today with the results of one year ago show that as the size of the hospital pool has grown, the percentage of adherence to those standards has declined.
Last year's Leapfrog survey of 637 responding hospitals reported that 5% had fully implemented physician order-entry systems that were capable of alerting physicians to prescribing errors, and another 25% of the hospitals planned to achieve that standard within a year. A survey released today reported that 3% of 1,008 hospitals responding to the question said they had an operational physician order-entry system, and 14% were on target to have one in operation before 2005. Suzanne Delbanco, Leapfrog's executive director, said the trend might demonstrate an initial bias toward hospitals that were least hesitant about reporting because they would look good. The coalition's efforts now are reaching hospitals that haven't made as much progress but are willing to share their results, she said. -- by John Morrissey