The Leapfrog Group said 21% of 1,019 hospitals surveyed fully met 27 quality standards endorsed by the National Quality Forum, such as having procedures to avoid wrong-site surgery and patient malnutrition. The 27 standards, added by Leapfrog this year, make up one of four categories tracked by the coalition of employers and healthcare organizations. The older categories are hospitals' implementation of computerized physician order-entry systems (CPOE), use of intensive-care specialists in ICUs and performance in certain high-risk procedures and conditions. Leapfrog said 39% of the hospitals had fully implemented at least one of the four categories.
Only 4.4% of the hospitals reported having fully implemented CPOE, about the same percentage as in 2002 and 2003, although participation in the survey has grown. An additional 16% said they planned to adopt CPOE by 2006. Some 18.5% of the hospitals said they use intensivists -- again about the same percentage as in the two previous surveys -- and an additional 13% said they would by 2006. A Leapfrog spokeswoman said that among hospitals targeted in regional rollouts, use of CPOE has risen to about 6% from about 2% over the four years Leapfrog has promoted its safety goals, while use of intensivists increased to 23% from about 10%. Read a summary of the findings or access individual hospital data at leapfroggroup.org. -- by Tony Fong