HCA Healthcare Hospital Safety Grade scores exceed national average

A female doctor speaks with a young boy in a hospital hallway

HCA Healthcare has been an industry leader in patient safety long before it was an established discipline. It is first and foundational for who we are as an organization and what we stand for – safe, quality, and efficient care that we’d want for ourselves, our families and our friends.

A male doctor talks with two female patients as they walk down a hospital hallway

The fall 2019 Hospital Safety Grade report was released today by independent hospital watchdog, The Leapfrog Group, reflecting HCA Healthcare’s culture of safety. 80.98% of HCA Healthcare hospitals received an “A” or “B” Safety Grade, outperforming the national average of 58%.

HCA Healthcare hospitals Rose Medical Center and St. David’s Medical Center received Leapfrog’s “Straight A” designation, for receiving an “A” grade in every update of the twice-annual Hospital Safety Scores, which launched in 2012.

“At HCA Healthcare, we have a long-standing commitment to a culture of safety,” said Dr. Jonathan B. Perlin, HCA Healthcare’s president, clinical services, and chief medical officer. “From being one of the first hospital systems to implement bar-coded medication administration to developing much of the evidence and worldwide practice standards for safe deliveries, as well as our leadership in leveraging artificial intelligence to help save lives of patients with sepsis, we know that safe practice and high reliability involve more than luck.”

“Together with partners across our system, we are a learning health system that engineers quality and safety into our care to improve outcomes and save lives,” Dr. Perlin adds of HCA Healthcare’s long-standing patient safety priority.

Leading a culture of safety

Dr. Perlin was on a panel of experts that produced the 2017 report Leading a Culture of Safety: A Blueprint for Success. This resource was designed to be used as a practical guide for leaders to establish and maintain a culture of safety in their organizations.

In fact, Dr. Kenneth Sands, chief patient safety officer at HCA Healthcare, and assistant vice president Sharon Hickman, our organization’s safety engineer, use the blueprint to partner with regional leaders across the enterprise in advancing a culture of safety.

“Of course everyone wants to promote a culture of safety,” says Dr. Sands, “but the topic can feel ambiguous, and leaders need help determining the most effective approach.  The Blueprint provides concrete, practical and proven strategies to that resonate with both leaders and front line staff.”

For example, the document promotes the value of safety huddles with direct leadership involvement. “We have seen a huge uptake in the concept of holding a daily safety huddle,” adds Dr. Sands.

A group of doctors and nurses talking in a hospital hallway

At HCA Healthcare, we believe in contributing to a safer environment for patients and caregivers alike, by:

  • nurturing safety discussions or huddles,
  • providing transparent, timely feedback,
  • encouraging the reporting of errors, adverse events and close calls – events or situations that, only by chance, did not produce patient harm,
  • recognizing or rewarding individuals for reporting and
  • promoting the development of a safe climate for reporting.

“Creating a culture of safety where employees feel empowered to speak up is a key component to the journey,”  says Sharon Hickman, assistant vice president and patient safety engineer. “Great catch programs encourage and celebrate the reporting of potential errors or near miss events regarding patient safety.”

“The information we get from voluntary reporting is key to identifying system improvements that can prevent patient harm,” adds Hickman.  “We are in a great position to learn from each other and share across the enterprise.”

Our care is first and foremost on our patients. Thank you to our colleagues who have an unwavering commitment to safe, superior, patient-centered care.

The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade is a bi-annual grading assigning “A,” “B,” “C,” “D” and “F” letter grades to general acute-care hospitals in the U.S. It is the nation’s only rating focused entirely on patient safety—preventable errors, accidents, injuries and infections.

About HCA Healthcare

HCA Healthcare, one of the nation's leading providers of healthcare services, is comprised of 182 hospitals and more than 2,300 sites of care, in 20 states and the United Kingdom. Our more than 283,000 colleagues are connected by a single purpose — to give patients healthier tomorrows.

As an enterprise, we recognize the significant responsibility we have as a leading healthcare provider within each of the communities we serve, as well as the opportunity we have to improve the lives of the patients for whom we are entrusted to care. Through the compassion, knowledge and skill of our caregivers, and our ability to leverage our scale and innovative capabilities, HCA Healthcare is in a unique position to play a leading role in the transformation of care.

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