SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Mercy Hospital Springfield has reason to boast after landing in the top tier of medical institutions across the country in ratings of patient safety.
"It's always nice to have some recognition in the public eye," said Mercy vice-president of Clinic Excellence Dr. Alexander Hover.
It's a prestigious designation for Mercy Hospital. Consumer Reports ranks it not only the top hospital in Missouri but one of the top 10 best in the country.
Hover says Mercy isn't patting itself on the back just yet.
"We know that we have a long way to go to meet our goal to make this institution as safe as we can," he said.
Mercy Hospital Springfield ranked sixth on the list with a score of 70 out of 100. The number one hospital in the country, Billings Clinic in Billings, Mont., scored a 72.
"It got that score because it is doing an excellent job at preventing infections. It has figured out the CT scanning issues, so it's not over exposing patients," said Dr. John Santa, director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center.
Consumer Reports says it points to a larger picture that hospitals still need to do more to ensure patient safety.
One area in which Consumer Reports saw a problem at Mercy and other hosptials is communication. Evaluators found issues ranging from instructions concerning hospital discharges to information about medication.
"Communication is really the root cause of about two-thirds of serious patient injury. That's an area we take very seriously," said Hover.
"Turns out that communication in the hospital with doctors and nurses is actually quite high and quite good," said Santa. "The problem is when it becomes focused on their two safety areas: new medicines and discharge. The scores drop significantly."
Mercy did score well on use of CT scanning, avoiding readmissions, and infection rates.
"We have full time staff devoted to doing nothing but education and oversight on how to reduce infections," said Hover.
Moving forward, Hover says Mercy's job isn't done until it reaches perfection.
"In 2007, the Mercy system committed to zero patient harm. That was our goal. We are not there. We have a long ways to go towards that," he said.
Consumer Reports also rated the bottom 10 hospitals in the country. Coming in at number three was the Lake Regional Health System in Osage Beach. It scored a 22 out of 100.
Consumer Reports rated almost 1,200 hospitals across the country. More than half of the hospitals received a score below 50.
Check out the article Top 10 hospitals in our new safety ratings