The Leapfrog Group Announces Annual Top Hospitals List

Dec 01, 2010, 12:30 ET from Swedish Medical Center

– Swedish First Hill, Cherry Hill are two of only three hospitals in the Pacific Northwest to achieve this prestigious national designation considered the gold standard in measuring hospital performance

SEATTLE, Dec. 1, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Leapfrog Group's annual class of top hospitals – 65 from a field of nearly 1,200 – was announced today in Washington, D.C. and, for the first time, included Swedish Medical Center's First Hill and Cherry Hill campuses. The announcement came at Leapfrog's 10th anniversary meeting. A complete list of 2010 Leapfrog Top Hospitals can be viewed at

The Leapfrog Group is a coalition of public and private purchasers of employee health coverage – including Boeing and the Washington State Healthcare Authority – which was founded a decade ago to work for improvements in health-care safety, quality and affordability. Initially organized by the Business Roundtable, it is now an independent advocacy group working with a broad range of partners, including hospitals and insurers.

The 'Top Hospital' selection is based on the results of the Leapfrog Group's national survey, which launched in 2001. It measures hospitals' performance in crucial areas of patient safety and quality, including:

  • The use of computer physician order entry (CPOE) to prevent medication errors;
  • Standards for doing high-risk procedures such as heart surgery;
  • Protocols and policies to reduce medical errors and other safe practices recommended by the National Quality Forum; and
  • Adequate nurse and physician staffing

In addition, hospitals are measured on their progress in preventing infections and other hospital-acquired conditions and adopting policies on the handling of serious medical errors, among other things.

Considered the gold standard in measuring hospital performance, Leapfrog's annual survey is the only voluntary effort of its kind. It is the most complete picture available of a hospital's quality and safety.

The results of the survey are posted on a public Web site (, which is open to patients, families, employers and other purchasers of health care.

"Earning the top hospital designation among a select few of the country's top providers is a testament to the commitment of everyone at Swedish – the Board, management, physicians, nurses and other caregivers, support staff, as well as volunteers," said Mary Gregg, M.D., Swedish's director of Quality and Patient Safety. "The continuous quality improvement efforts at Swedish make a real difference in the lives of our patients."

Dr. Gregg, Swedish CEO Rod Hochman, M.D., and Dan Dixon, the medical center's vice president of External Affairs, traveled to Washington, D.C. to attend the anniversary meeting and receive the award.

The 2010 list includes university and other teaching hospitals, children's hospitals and community hospitals in rural, suburban and urban settings. The only other hospital in Washington state to earn the award this year was Virginia Mason Medical Center.

The 1,200 hospitals that publicly report their performance via the Leapfrog Survey do so voluntarily and cover nearly 50 percent of the hospital beds in the United States. "In a way, that makes all of them top hospitals," said Leapfrog Chief Executive Leah Binder. "It represents an enormous commitment by the institution to not only measure what they do against tough standards, but also to work for change and be transparent about it."

Leapfrog Board Chair David Knowlton, president of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, pointed out that qualifying for the top hospital rank grows more difficult each year as Leapfrog's standards evolve and new standards are added. "Leapfrog's members, as purchasers of care, and our partners and supporters believe that the challenges for American health care go far beyond just keeping costs down. Making certain that patients get the right care at the right time – value – is an equal part of the equation."

Leapfrog officials say they plan to expand their efforts in the months ahead to work with consumer groups.

About Leapfrog and The Leapfrog Group

Leapfrog is an initiative driven by organizations that buy health care who are working to initiate breakthrough improvements in the safety, quality and affordability of health care for Americans. They mobilize employer purchasing power to alert America's health industry that big leaps in health-care safety, quality and customer value will be recognized and rewarded. Leapfrog builds transparency by publishing the results of the Leapfrog Hospital Survey, and helps their employer members – either directly or through their health plans – to provide incentives and rewards to best performing hospitals. The Leapfrog Group membership represents many of the nation's largest corporations and public agencies that buy health benefits on behalf of their enrollees. Membership also includes more than 30 business coalitions on health across the country, which on behalf of their purchaser members deploy the Leapfrog Survey in their communities.

About Swedish

Established in 1910, Swedish has grown over the last 100 years to become the largest, most comprehensive non-profit health provider in the Greater Seattle area with 8,500 employees, 3,000-physicians and 1,200-volunteers. It is comprised of four hospital campuses (First Hill, Cherry Hill, Ballard and Edmonds), an emergency department and ambulatory care center in Issaquah, Swedish Visiting Nurse Services, and the Swedish Physician Division – a network of more than 40 primary-care and specialty clinics located throughout the Puget Sound area. Swedish recently opened a new emergency department and medical office building (MOB) on its Ballard campus and will open a new MOB and hospital in the Issaquah Highlands in the summer of 2011. In addition, Swedish will open an emergency department and ambulatory care center in Redmond in mid-December of this year and a similar facility in Mill Creek in mid-February 2011. In addition to general medical and surgical care, Swedish is known as a regional referral center, providing specialized treatment in areas such as cardiovascular care, cancer care, neuroscience, orthopedics, high-risk obstetrics, pediatric specialties, organ transplantation and clinical research. For more information, visit

SOURCE Swedish Medical Center