Patient Safety in Cook County

Publication Date


Document Type



Health Sciences


Jennifer Peterson

Mentor Department

Health Sciences


Patient safety is a critical aspect of a hospital's quality performance. However, patient safety information is not the easiest to access when it comes to the average patient. Patient safety information should be more transparent to inform the public of how well hospitals take care of their patients. Making information such as hospital acquired infection rates or patient falls more accessible can drive hospitals to improve the quality of care they provide to their patients because hospital who do not perform as well will lose business. This qualitative research was conducted to illustrate how 12 hospitals in the North, East, South, and West sides of Cook County, Illinois, compared to one another in regards to patient safety. Using the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, hospitals were analyzed on process, structural, and outcome measures. Measures such as hospital acquired infections, occurrence of surgical problems, practices to prevent errors, safety problems, and hospital staff performance were used to compose the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade. In this study, the hospitals analyzed received safety grades that ranged from A through F. When comparing hospitals, a benchmark score was established, which was composed of performance measures from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the Leapfrog Hospital Survey, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the American Hospital Association's Annual Survey and Health Information Technology Supplement. These scores were then converted to the previously mentioned alphabetic grades. Further examination revealed that hospitals studied in the south of Cook County received lower safety grades, process, structural, and outcome measures. This prompted researchers to question and analyze the reasons that some hospitals performed better than others within the same county. Further investigation was conducted to determine whether or not the community's average income had an effect on proper healthcare practices. Upon analyzing the results, it was concluded that the average income within a community had no association with a hospital's patient safety performance.


Sablan-undergraduate, Bradley-undergraduate

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