Kaiser Permanente Richmond Medical Center receives top hospital designation
on December 6, 2012
For the third year in a row the Kaiser Permanente Richmond Medical Center has been listed as one of the best hospitals in the country by the Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit group that surveys hospital performance.
“I’m really proud of the accomplishment of the people that work really hard everyday,” said Dr. Timothy Batchelder, the hospital’s physician-in-chief. Batchelder said he sees this honor as an opportunity to reaffirm the labor and commitment shown by his staff – for, he said, a hospital is only as good as the service medical professionals provide.
This service has been measured by the Hospital Safety Score, which quantifies a hospital’s safety, quality and resource use to determine how practices and policies promote optimum patient health and experience.
Kaiser Richmond received an A grade.
Kaiser Richmond’s highest marks were in areas related to staffing and preventing medical errors. “Every hospital has infections and medication administration errors, the game is to minimize them,” Batchelder said, by treating every occurrence as a big deal and making sure it doesn’t happen again.
Although the overall grade was high, one of the hospital’s lowest marks concerns the patient experience of care. “We’re never good enough,” Batchelder said.
Thousands of Kaiser hospital and clinic members are surveyed every month. The results are disseminated to the respective locations, departments and individual professionals to inform their improvement. Patient feedback also influences staff trainings on diversity and service, and classes on communication.
Another key factor in the patient experience lies not within the hospital, but in the community. In Richmond, the most challenging issue is that 40 percent of the patients are not Kaiser members, according to Batchelder, meaning they don’t have personal physicians or electronic records, and making preventative care more difficult.
Patients lacking preventative care are more likely to have advanced conditions that could have been abated with proper treatment, which can make for a much more complicated medical experience.
The Leapfrog Group comes from a quest to avoid complications and reduce the cost of employer-purchased healthcare while procuring the best medical service for employees. The group is a nonprofit consortium of healthcare purchasers who, in 2000, rallied to structure their contracts and purchasing to acknowledge the highest quality hospitals in the nation. The group now provides easily accessible information on the caliber of hospital services to the public through the Leapfrog website or in the Hospital Safety Score app.
Batchelder said the accolades won’t stop Kaiser Richmond from pursuing improvement.
“Our success and reputation is determined by the experience of the patients,” he said.
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