HealthDay News — More than 50,000 lives could be saved if all hospitals had an avoidable death rate equivalent to “A” grade hospitals, according to an updated report prepared for The Leapfrog Institute.

Matt Austin, PhD, and Jordan Derk, MPH, from the Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, assigned hospitals a safety letter grade ranging from A to F, with A hospitals having the highest score. The mortality rate for each of 15 patient safety outcomes in hospitals in each letter grade was estimated.

The authors found that the number of avoidable deaths per 1,000 admissions varied from 3.24 lives in A hospitals to 6.21 lives in D and F hospitals. The differences in the estimated relative risk for an avoidable death were 34.9% higher in B hospitals, 87.7% higher in C hospitals, and 91.8% higher in D and F hospitals relative to A hospitals. If B, C, D, and F hospitals had the same safety performance as A hospitals, an estimated 50,215 lives could be saved every year.

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“Efforts to reduce patient safety events have been plentiful, and yet elimination of all preventable harms remains elusive,” the authors write. “While hospitals with a Hospital Safety Grade of ‘A’ have better performance than hospitals with lower grades, they still have significant opportunities for improvement.”

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