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Consumer Reports: RMH a leader in patient safety

Consumer Reports magazine gave RMH one of the highest patient safety ratings among Virginia hospitals included in a study released in its August issue.

RMH received a safety score of 63 out of 100 from the independent consumer-product rating organization, ranking it second highest in the state of Virginia on the published list.

“Our first priority at RMH is the safety of our patients,” said Dr. Dale Carroll, chief medical officer and senior vice president, clinical effectiveness. “The Consumer Reports rating reflects the progress we have made on our journey of continuous performance improvement and our quest to become a high-reliability organization.”

Consumer Reports used information from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and from the state to compile its rankings of 1,159 hospitals nationwide. The report analyzed hospitals across the country in six areas: infections, readmissions, communication, CT scanning, complications and mortality.

RMH received the best possible rating for infection control and for reducing unneeded CT scanning.

Dr. Carroll noted that preventing hospital-acquired infections is a top priority for RMH.

“We focus globally on hygiene, including hand-washing, as well as infection prevention protocols,” he said. “We also have teams who actively address each type of hospital-acquired infection. We continuously review our infection-prevention processes and identify opportunities to improve.”

Dr. Carroll applauded the teamwork between the hospital-based radiologists and community physicians for the lower rate of unneeded scanning.

“Our radiologists are diligent and work with other physicians to discuss what scans are ordered and how to keep patients safe from unnecessary exposure to radiation,” he said.

RMH also received recognition from Consumer Reports for a low mortality rate, meaning fewer patients admitted for any reason die while in the hospital than the national average.

Dr. Carroll added that as a member of the Sentara Health System, RMH benefits from the sharing of best practices in quality, patient safety and process improvement with the nine other not-for-profit hospitals in the system.

“Learning from each other what has worked well and how to do better benefits not only RMH patients, but the many thousands of patients served by all Sentara hospitals in their respective communities,” he said. “Sentara’s commitment to patient safety resulted in the development of an independent company, Healthcare Performance Improvement, whom RMH engaged several years ago to help us on our patient safety journey.

“Reports such as this underscore our commitment to patient safety and highlight the progress we’ve made,” he continued. “Consumers have access to myriad reports and reviews, and we encourage them to do research and become educated. Patients and their families are our partners in patient safety and we invite them to join us on our journey by reading, observing, asking questions of their providers, and speaking up for safety.”

There are more than 5,600 hospitals in the nation. Veterans Affairs hospitals, children’s hospitals and specialty hospitals were not included in the ratings. Hospitals with too little, old or no data were also not included.

Augusta Health Augusta Free Press Kris McMackin CPA
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Augusta Free Press