92% of Hospitals See Decrease in 3 Health Care-Associated Infections

According to a new report, hospital saw a reduction in 3 HAI.

Image credit: Tom Fisk, Unsplash

Health care-associated infections (HAI) scores have declined by 30% or more in 3 major hospital infections, according to new report by the Leapfrog Group. These 3 infections with the significant drop include:

• Central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI) decreased by 34%
• Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI) decreased by 30%
• Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) decreased by 30%1

“We were also pleased to see the decrease in preventable infections, which cause terrible suffering and sometimes death. When we look at these positive trends, we see lives saved—and that is gratifying,” said Leapfrog Group CEO Leah Binder.1

Leapfrog is a national nonprofit group, and released results from its spring 2024 Hospital Safety Grades report on patient safety this week. The group assigned an “A,” “B,” “C,” “D” or “F” to nearly 3000 general hospitals on how well they prevent medical errors, accidents, and infections. Preventable health care-associated infections show a sustained drop after unprecedented rates during the height of the pandemic.1

Since Leapfrog reported hospital safety grades in the fall of 2022, 92% of hospitals have improved performance on at least 1 of 3 aforementioned dangerous preventable infections.1

The Toll of HAI
HAI continue to be challenging for hospitalists. Every day, approximately 1 in 31 US patients and 1 in 43 nursing home residents’ contracts at least one infection in association with their healthcare.2

There are 4 types of HAIs that are associated with hospitals that are part of the report, including Central Line-associated Bloodstream Infection (CLABSI), Catheter-associated Urinary Tract Infections (CAUTI) Surgical Site Infection (SSI) and Ventilator-associated Pneumonia (VAP).3

The report did not include therapeutic utilization such as the development of Clostridioides difficile after antibiotics.

Grading States, Metro Areas
The report also contains best patient safety performance by state and, for the first time, by metro area based on highest percentage of “A” hospitals. In spring 2024, Utah ranks number 1 (57.7%) among states for the second cycle in a row. Right behind Utah was Virginia with 56.3%, and rounding out the top 3 was New Jersey at 44.8%.1 (To see more of the rankings, see below in Table 1.)

Table 1. The top 10 states with the highest percentage of “A” hospitals.

Table credit: Leapfrog

The top 3 metro areas are Allentown, Pennsylvania, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and New Orleans, Louisiana. The rankings were limited to areas with populations of 500,000 or greater with at least 6 graded hospitals.1 (See Table 2 for the rankings of the metro areas.)

Of the over 30 measures used to generate hospital safety grades, Leapfrog reports on 5 patient experience measures that have a direct impact on patient safety outcomes:

• Nurse communication
• Doctor communication
• Hospital staff responsiveness
• Communication about medicines
• Discharge information

Table 2. For metropolitan areas, Leapfrog used core-based statistical areas (CBSAs) used by the U.S. Census and determined by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Table credit: Leapfrog

Nationally, patient experience—a set of measures using patient-reported perspectives on hospital care—indicates significant signs of improvement since the fall 2023 Safety Grades. 1

“Patient experience is very difficult to influence without delivering better care, so these findings are encouraging,” Binder stated.1

“While today’s results are promising, patient safety remains a crisis-level hazard in health care. Some hospitals are much better than others at protecting patients from harm, and that’s why we make the Hospital Safety Grade available to the public and why we encourage all hospitals to focus more attention on safety,” Binder stated.1

Leapfrog’s Hospital Safety Grade report was launched in 2012 and assigns letter grades to hospitals based on their record of patient safety, helping consumers protect themselves and their families from errors, injuries, accidents and infections. It is the only hospital ratings program based exclusively on hospital prevention of medical errors and harm to patients. It is fully transparent and free to the public, and grades are updated biannually in the fall and in the spring.1


1.New Hospital Safety Grades Find Significant Improvements in Patient Experience Reports and Health Care-Associated Infections Leapfrog news statement. May 1, 2024.Accessed May 3, 2024

2. HAI and Antibiotic Use Prevalence Survey. CDC. Last reviewed February 25, 2022. Accessed May 3, 2024.

3. Types of Healthcare-associated Infections. CDC. Last reviewed March 26, 2014. Accessed May 3, 2024.

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