University of Michigan Hospitals Win Award for Being Among the Nation's Safest

Dec 01, 2010, 18:14 ET from University of Michigan Health System

According to a national ranking from the Leapfrog Group, U-M Hospitals and Health Centers provide some of the safest and most effective care in the country

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Dec. 1, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The University of Michigan hospitals are among the safest and most effective hospitals in the country, according to a new national ranking from the Leapfrog Group.

The announcement was made at last night's 10th anniversary meeting for Leapfrog, a respected independent health care quality rating organization.

The U-M Hospitals and Health Centers is among 65 institutions named 2010 Leapfrog Top Hospitals, based on a rating system that provides a detailed assessment of a hospital's safety and quality. The top hospitals list includes university and other teaching hospitals, children's hospitals and community hospitals in rural, suburban and urban settings. U-M is one of four Michigan hospitals on the list.

"Receiving this national award validates the intense focus that we have given to improving patient safety," says Doug Strong, chief executive officer of the U-M Hospitals and Health Centers. "Although we are well above average in many areas of patient safety, we emphasize the need for continuous improvement."

Darrell A. Campbell, Jr., M.D., chief medical officer, UMHHC, and Henry King Ransom Professor of Surgery at the U-M Medical School, leads the patient safety program.

"Our goal is to be the safest hospital in the country," says Campbell. "We have put a lot of resources into making sure that patients are safe when they come into the hospital."

Though long regarded among the nation's best for high-quality care, UMHHC has made patient safety issues a top priority since 2000.

Some recent successes include the following:

  • A 40-percent reduction in infections at the site of surgical procedures
  • Reduced medication errors
  • Improved hand hygiene by clinical staff
  • Required flu shots for clinical staff

Campbell also emphasizes that effective lines of communication between patients and their doctors is a crucial part of a patient safety environment.

"We recognize that patient safety is a team effort," offers Margaret Calarco, Ph.D., R.N., senior associate director of Patient Care Services and chief, Nursing Services, UMHHC and associate dean for Clinical Affairs and adjunct professor of nursing, School of Nursing. "No one group or discipline is solely responsible, but in fact, all of us are responsible for working closely together as a health care team in partnership with our patients and families to make the greatest difference in our patient safety efforts."

The 2010 Top Hospitals list is based on nearly 1,200 hospitals that responded to the Leapfrog Hospital Quality and Safety Survey. The survey focuses on four critical areas of patient safety: the use of computer physician order entry 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.

The Leapfrog Group is a coalition of public and private purchasers of employee health coverage founded a decade ago to work for improvements in health care safety, quality and affordability. A complete list of 2010 Leapfrog Top Hospitals is available at its website.

The University of Michigan Health System includes the U-M Hospitals & Health Centers, which comprises three hospitals and dozens of outpatient health centers and clinics; the U-M Medical School with its Faculty Group Practice and extensive research and education programs; the clinical operations of the U-M School of Nursing; and the Michigan Health Corp. The three U-M hospitals are University Hospital, C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, and Von Voigtlander Women's Hospital.

The UMHS has over 43,500 admissions, more than 79,000 emergency services/urgent care visits and more than 45,000 surgical cases annually. It has been recognized numerous times for excellence in patient care, including 15 years on the honor roll of "America's Best Hospitals," as compiled by U.S. News & World Report. The U-M Medical School is one of the nation's biomedical research powerhouses, with total research funding of more than $420 million, and consistently achieves high rankings for excellence in the education and training of physicians and biomedical scientists. For more about UMHS, see For information about the UMHS quality and safety efforts, see

SOURCE University of Michigan Health System