Good Life

Health break: Mount Nittany Health to celebrate National Healthcare Quality Week

Mount Nittany Health will join many other health care organizations across the nation and the National Association for Healthcare Quality in celebrating National Healthcare Quality Week, Oct. 18-24.

Quality of care refers not only to the medical care received, but also encompasses safety, infection prevention, treatment measures and the overall patient experience.

At Mount Nittany Health, our mission is to make people healthier, and that includes providing safe, quality care. Because the regulatory landscape is continually shifting, quality improvement requires a culture that continues to adapt and modify. Creating and maintaining a strong safety culture is not only good medical practice, but also good business.

Locally at Mount Nittany Health, quality has always been a major factor in our business model. Since 2011, Mount Nittany Health has participated in the national Medicare Partnership for Patients improvement initiative in collaboration with other Pennsylvania hospitals and The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania. In addition, we have partnered with Highmark on projects to reduce catheter-associated urinary tract infections, improve sepsis care and improve the delivery of pediatric care. Renowned quality accreditations have also been achieved recently, such for the Mount Nittany Medical Center cardiac catheterization lab through Accreditation for Cardiovascular Excellence.

Other current quality-focused initiatives include hiring a Patient Centered Medical Home coordinator whose goal is to assist Mount Nittany Health in creating and sustaining a model of team-based care, rooted in quality and safety, that keeps the patient at the center, as well as hosting an active Care Transitions Summit that brings together representatives from health care organizations with the shared goal of providing the right care, at the right time, in the right setting.

Although good work is taking place every day, there’s still more work to do. Enactment of the Affordable Care Act is changing how hospitals and other care providers operate. Perhaps the most significant changes involve payments to health care providers. Medicare, Medicaid and other payers are providing incentives — positive and negative — to encourage health care providers to improve clinical outcomes and reduce costs. This presents both opportunities and challenges for health care quality management professionals.

To this end, we will continue to build and maintain strong safety cultures to continuously improve quality of care and optimize patient safety, establish accountability for integrity of quality and safety programs, create systems to continuously improve, accurately report quality and safety data and remove barriers to success.

We can’t do it alone, though. You can help by taking an active role in your care. Become a partner with your doctor, nurse and other members of your health care team in making health care decisions and understanding procedures and medications. If you don’t understand your plan, ask questions. A good place to start is with these three questions: What is my main problem? What do I need to do? Why is it important for me to do this? Being an active member of the health care team will help ensure you’re receiving the highest quality of care.

To learn more about how Mount Nittany Health is committed to improving quality and patient safety, visit