An estimated 161,250 preventable deaths occur each year in U.S. hospitals, a decline from three years ago, according to a new analysis from the Leapfrog Group.
The study, published Wednesday and conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality through a contract with the Leapfrog Group, found that poor hospital performance on 16 patient safety measures used by Leapfrog Group to assign hospital grades caused more than 161,000 deaths annually. The findings actually represent a decline in deaths from 2016 when Johns Hopkins conducted a similar analysis for Leapfrog Group in which 206,000 preventable deaths occurred each year.
"We are cautiously optimistic we are going to see real change and that is the good news from the report," said Leah Binder, president and CEO of the Leapfrog Group.
"But 160,000 is still a lot of people, it's still a terrible problem. We have a long way to go," she added.
The analysis likely underestimates the number of preventable deaths in hospitals since it only evaluated a subset of safety issues by looking at just 16 safety measures, according to the authors.
The analysis used performance data from the 2,620 hospitals assigned a grade in the most recent iteration of the Leapfrog Group's hospital safety grades, which came out in conjunction with the study. All 16 measures used in the study except for one are CMS measures.
Similar to previous iterations, Leapfrog's newest grades shows wide variation in patient safety performance across hospitals. Of the 2,620 hospitals assigned a grade, 832 received an A, 681 got a B, 938 were assigned a C, 160 received a D and nine got an F.