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Top Hospitals Now Rated By Efficiency As Well As Quality Posted: January 5th, 2010

By Sanford Ellowitz

Sanford Ellowitz is a New York State licensed insurance agent. He is also a Certified Financial Planner and a Certified Employee Benefit Specialist. He has over 25 years experience in the insurance and financial services industries.

Leapfrog, a group that represents large employers trying to obtain cheap health insurance for their thousands of employees, has added efficiency to its standards for ranking top hospitals. Efficient operations can help save money, reducing the cost of health insurance.

Top Hospitals Now Measured by Efficiency As Well As Quality

The Leapfrog Group added a new measure, efficiency, to its criteria when selecting this year's top hospitals.

The organization, which represents large employers such as Boeing and General Electric, aims to get cheap health insurance. The group may be able to initiate change in the health care industry because to the thousands of employees covered under the health plans of the businesses that the organization represents.

In addition to efficiency, The Leapfrog Group has stringent performance standards that hospitals must meet in order to be able to be on its list. These include quality care for complex, high-risk procedures and having a fully staffed ICU. It also takes into account mortality rates for common procedures, infection rates, and safety practices.

Controlling Costs by Increasing Efficiency

One of the ways that The Leap Frog is trying to increase safety, while making hospital operations more efficient and helping control the cost of health insurance, is the adoption by providers of Computer-based Provider Entry Order (CPOE).

With CPOE the provider enters an order for a medication, clinical laboratory test, or procedure directly into a computer system. The system then transmits the order to the appropriate department, or individuals, so it can be carried out.

This reduces time and errors, and can even alert providers to potential problems.

Use of CPOE Lags

To date, The Leapfrog Group, which defines the use of CPOE as 75% of all medication orders entered into a system, along with some level of clinical alerts, has found low levels of use by the hospitals it surveyed.

It also found that many hospitals are not meeting cost-efficiency and quality care standards. Many hospitals face safety issues that affect not only care, but their bottom line.

Not Paying for Major "Never" Mistakes

Another way that The Leapfrog Group is trying to hold down costs is to ask providers not to charge when they make "never" mistakes, such as operating on the wrong limb. The Midwest Business Group on Health, which represents about 80 Chicago area employers has supported this initiative.

Health insurance plans are also joining in the attempt to not pay for major mistakes, incorrect procedures, and requiring their network hospitals to report their errors to state governments.

Sanford Ellowitz