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Leapfrog Group’s Report Reveals Improved Infection Rates in Post-COVID-19 Phase: An In-depth Study

The overriding impact of COVID-19 saw healthcare-associated infection (HAIs) rates rise significantly, affecting approximately 1 in 31 US patients and 1 in 43 nursing home residents daily. Four major types of HAIs — CLABSI (Central Line-associated Bloodstream Infection), CAUTI (Catheter-associated Urinary Tract Infections), SSI (Surgical Site Infection), and VAP (Ventilator-associated Pneumonia) raised challenging issues for clinicians. However, post-pandemic findings by the national nonprofit, the Leapfrog Group, suggest a considerable improvement in these rates.

The recently shared Fall 2023 Hospital Safety Grades report by the Leapfrog group paints an enlightening picture of the overall patient safety scenario in nearly 3,000 general hospitals. The process of assigning letter grades to these hospitals under the report’s ambit offers insights into the ability to prevent medical errors, accidents, and infections. Highlighting the improvement in HAI rates in the post-pandemic phase, Leah Binder, President, and CEO, the Leapfrog Group, sees this change as a commendable reversal of the intense spike seen during COVID-19.

As per the grading cycle, around 30% of hospitals secured ‘A’, 24% received ‘B’, and 39% scored ‘C’. Only 7% earned ‘D’, and less than 1% failed with an ‘F’. The reports indicate antimicrobial-resistant infection reduction in MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), CLABSI, and CAUTI post-pandemic after these infections reached a 5-year high during the pandemic. The standardized infection ratios (SIRs) for CLABSI and MRSA saw a rise of 35% from pre-pandemic levels in the Fall 2022 Safety grade cycle, with CAUTI exhibiting a 20% increase. However, recent data shows progress in over 85% of hospitals with improvement in at least 1 of the 3 highlighted dangerous infections.

However, patient experience scores have been unfavorable for two consecutive years, with all states experiencing a noticeable dip. Five patient experience measures strongly linked with patient safety issues were used. These were calculated based on patient responses to a national standardized survey post their hospital visit. The survey included their rating on experience with nurse communication, doctor communication, staff responsiveness, communication about medicine, and discharge information. Notably, ‘communication about medicines’ and ‘responsiveness of hospital staff’ suffered the steepest falls, linking these pain points to preventable medical errors according to current studies.


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