"I think for hospital leaders this would be a great place for them to put an ear to the ground, to hear what patients are really saying, and factor that in when they make decisions," Allen says. "We created this for doctors, nurses, hospitals, and healthcare officials just as much as it was created for patients."
"Doctors, nurses, and hospital officials also are very interested in reducing the number of patients who suffer infections, injuries, and errors while undergoing medical care," he adds.
Leah Binder, CEO of the Leapfrog Group, which plans to publish patient safety scores for 2,600 hospitals on its website in a few weeks, says ProPublica's patient safety community "is a great idea ... so people who suffer this kind of harm don't think they're the only ones."
"All too often I will hear from someone, 'I had the most unusual experience; I got an infection in a hospital' or 'someone gave the wrong medication.' But that's not unusual; that's usual," Binder says. "Most people who have been in a hospital have suffered some kind of harm and it's time to put a stop to that. People deserve to know that some hospitals are safer than others."
She notes that the Office of Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services counted up the number of deaths to Medicare beneficiaries caused by medical mistakes for one month. The extrapolated one-year total was 180,000. That makes for a lot of bereaved and frustrated family members.