Phoebe gets ‘A’ for safe healthcare

Phoebe gets ‘A’ for safe healthcare
Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital (Source: WALB)

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital is listed among the best hospitals in the country in patient safety by The Leapfrog Group. The hospital was awarded an "A" in the fall 2019 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, a national distinction recognizing Phoebe’s achievements protecting patients from harm and providing safer healthcare.

“At Phoebe, nothing is more important than the safety of our patients," Joe Austin, Phobe chief executive officer, said. "We are proud of our staff’s daily commitment to patient safety and quality care has been recognized and affirmed by the independent experts at Leapfrog.”

The Leapfrog Group is a national watchdog organization committed to improving healthcare quality and safety for consumers and purchasers. The safety grade that can be assigned are an “A,” “B,” “C,” "D" or “F.” The grade is given to all general hospitals across the country based on their performance in preventing medical errors, injuries, accidents, infections and other harms to patients in their care.

“Our goal at Phoebe is zero patient harm, and we have made tremendous strides toward reaching that goal in recent years,” Dr. Steven Kitchen, Phoebe chief medical officer, said. “Thanks to the diligent work of focused safety teams, we have reduced incidents of patient harm by 61% throughout our health system in three years, and we are committed to continuing that positive trend.”

Phoebe also recently updated its website with safety information through the first eight months of 2019. Those numbers show an overall surgical site infection rate of just .245 percent or less than one infection for every 400 surgeries, Phoebe officials said in a release. The site also includes information about those patient harm indicators and what Phoebe is doing to continue to lower the numbers.

“Our quality website illustrates our commitment to transparency," Austin said. “We want the people we serve to be able to easily see how we’re doing and to hold us accountable.”

This year, Phoebe also began a journey to become a High Reliability Organization (HRO).

“Our patients expect us to keep them safe, heal them and be nice to them. That is more than a simple saying, it is our foundational pledge to the people of southwest Georgia,” Scott Steiner, Phoebe chief executive officer, said. “As an HRO, we will be obsessed with failure and with efforts to bring zero harm to patients. This multi-year effort will include specialized training to ensure every Phoebe employee puts safety first every day,” Steiner said.

The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade uses 28 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to assign grades to more than 2,600 U.S. acute-care hospitals twice per year. The Hospital Safety Grade’s methodology is peer-reviewed and fully transparent, and the results are free to the public.

“‘A’ hospitals show us their leadership protecting patients from preventable medical harm and error,” Leah Binder, The Leapfrog Group president and CEO. “It takes genuine commitment at every level — from clinicians to administrators to the board of directors — and we congratulate the teams who have worked so hard to earn this A.”

Phoebe was awarded an "A" grade Thursday, when Leapfrog announced grades for the fall 2019 update.

[ For more on Phoebe’s grade, click here. ]

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