Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Earns An “A” For Patient Safety

NEW BRUNSWICK–Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) has earned the highest grade for safety according to a report issued this week by the Leapfrog Group, an independent, national non-profit organization which consists of a blue ribbon panel of employer purchasers of health care and national experts on patient safety.

The Leapfrog Group gave RWJUH an “A” Hospital Safety Score based on results collected in their recent report. The score is assigned to hospitals based on infection rates, injuries and medical and medication errors. To develop the Hospital Safety Score, the blue ribbon expert panel gathered data publicly reported at the national level, including measures reported by the federal government via the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the annual Leapfrog Hospital Survey.

The final 26 measures calculated in the Hospital Safety Score cover falls and trauma, central line-associated bloodstream infections, very severe pressure ulcers, and preventable complications from surgery such as foreign objects retained in the body, postoperative hazards, and accidental punctures or lacerations. The Hospital Safety Score also credits hospitals on measures of the procedures and protocols known to prevent infections, errors and accidents, such as strong nursing leadership and engagement, hand hygiene policies, computerized physician order entry systems, adherence to medical and medication protocols that prevent complications, safety-first organizational leadership and culture, and the right level of staffing for the ICU.

“Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital places a strong emphasis on quality and patient safety and we are proud that the results of this most recent Leapfrog Report reflect our team’s diligent efforts in these areas,” says Joshua Bershad, MD, MBA, Senior Vice President, Medical Affairs and Chief Medical Officer at RWJUH. “As New Jersey’s premier academic medical center, RWJ remains committed to serving as a leader that encourages both transparency and the sharing of best practices to improve patient safety and the quality of health care services delivered by our state’s hospitals.”

Dr. Bershad credits RWJUH’s pressure ulcer prevention as one of the key reasons why the hospital achieved an “A” grade. For example, RWJ currently has a Pressure Ulcer Prevention task force that has steadily decreased the incidence of pressure ulcers since 2008. The academic medical center also uses the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators Pressure Ulcer Training module to educate staff and holds regular staff meetings to share current educational topics, best practices and conduct individual case reviews with patients.

RWJUH has also devoted a section of its internal website to pressure ulcer prevention to provide staff education, algorithms and product information for nurses. A key part of the hospital’s pressure ulcer prevention effort is its unit-based risk assessment report tool. This tool, which is a summary of nursing assessment data, provides a daily report of patients at risk for several indicators, including the potential development of a pressure ulcer.

Finally, the hospital recently purchased state-of-the-art hospital beds and mattresses that have demonstrated success in preventing pressure ulcers. The new beds are equipped with a warning system to alert staff if a patient, who is identified as at-risk for falls, attempts to get out of bed unassisted.

Of the 2,652 general hospitals issued a Hospital Safety Score, 729 earned an “A,” 679 earned a “B,” and 1,243 earned a “C” or below.

Individuals can view all scores as well as information about how to protect themselves and loved ones during a hospital stay at

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