Transparency Only Has Impact if People Are Looking

Publicizing Leapfrog's Hospital Safety Score to improve patient safety at America's hospitals
    • August 3, 2015

“Patient safety remained a persistent problem, still killing as many Americans as before, despite significant progress with transparency. We thought it was time to change the game.”—Leah Binder, president and CEO, Leapfrog Group

Dates of Project: March 2012 to March 2013

Field of Work: Patient safety in hospitals

Problem Synopsis: Hospital safety records have not changed significantly since 1999, when the Institute of Medicine’s To Err Is Human report found that as many as 98,000 people die each year from preventable medical errors and accidents in hospitals—more than are killed by motor vehicle accidents, breast cancer, or AIDS.

Synopsis of the Work: With a grant from RWJF, the Leapfrog Group publicized its Hospital Safety Score by creating media toolkits, press releases, and a website to report the safety rankings of 2,514 U.S hospitals.

Key Results

To publicize the June 2012 launch of the Hospital Safety Score, Leapfrog created and electronically distributed announcements for 40 regional press campaigns. They also launched a website with hospital safety data and toolkits to help stakeholders explain the scores to their employees.

Stories about the Hospital Safety Score appeared in nearly 3,500 media outlets—accounting for 30 million impressions in local and regional media throughout the country. Leapfrog has been contacted by some 1,500 hospitals seeking to understand their safety score, and in many cases exploring opportunities to improve it.

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Leapfrog's Hospital Safety Score: Designed to get patients to ask doctors & hospitals, "How safe are you?"