The American Hospital Association and its members are committed to providing safe, high-quality healthcare. A major part of that effort is to provide reliable information to patients and their families so that they can make the best decisions about their care.
However, the Leapfrog Group's new tool, as detailed in your article “Leapfrog Group online tool helps purchasers calculate cost of hospital errors”, lacks the rigor needed to draw accurate conclusions about the safety and costs of hospital care.
The tool seeks to identify additional costs attributable to hospital errors and assumes hospitals with higher grades on the Leapfrog scorecard have lower costs. Leapfrog provides no evidence demonstrating that a high Leapfrog grade is correlated to lower costs. Moreover, the tool's methodology treats several very different kinds of cost data—total cost, charges incurred and estimated additional cost—as if each represents additional costs that are attributable to medical errors. Lastly, Leapfrog fails to recognize that patients with multiple medical conditions are more likely to require additional treatments thereby reaching an incorrect conclusion about what makes caring for such individuals more costly.
Without additional reference points or validation, the methodology of this new tool is seriously flawed and provides unreliable information for purchasers and patients.
Nancy FosterVice president of quality and patient safety policyAmerican Hospital Association