Friday, December 3, 2010

Taking the leap was worth the effort!

As noted in an earlier blog, GRMC was recognized by the Leapfrog Group as one of their 2010 Top Hospitals this week in Washington, D.C. Leapfrog is a coalition of large purchasers of healthcare and is celebrating ten years since their “Founding Frogs” penned the idea on the back of a napkin about an effort to improve quality, patient safety, and efficiency in American healthcare. Some of the companies involved in this mission include General Electric, General Motors, Boeing, IBM, and FedEx.

We met Rebecca Dunk, senior manager, Health and Welfare Benefits for Cedar Rapids based AEGON, who currently serves on Leapfrog’s board of directors. She noted the basic mission of Leapfrog is to have employers leverage their purchasing power to demand public transparency from hospitals. Only then will people be able to compare hospitals on safety, quality, and cost and then select the one that is best for their families. She is responsible for the 15,000 employees nationally who work for AEGON and simply wants the best quality and lowest cost for these employees.

I certainly have been aware of Leapfrog over the past decade, but only recently was compelled to have GRMC fill out their hospital survey after hearing healthcare governance guru Jamie Orlikoff speak about the value of their survey in the board room. Jamie also serves on the Virginia Mason Medical Center board in Seattle, Wash. He argues the survey helps the board of his hospital by tracking the performance to the Leapfrog standards and benchmarks, and then gives them opportunity to make improvements. Only several days after we received the results of our survey and presented the information to our board for the first time were we informed by Leapfrog we attained the top decile ranking for their rural hospital survey. This is only the second year Leapfrog has recognized Top Rural Hospitals and this year there were five hospitals from around the country that attained the top one percent rating.

I am sure glad we took the “leap” and filled out their survey. Although pleased about our top 1 percent rating, the survey process gives us opportunities to make further improvements and our team at GRMC already is making efforts for additional improvements.

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