Improving Patient Care

Massachusetts healthcare providers are continually working to provide the safest possible care, and place a high priority on making performance measures transparent. These measures include patient falls, pressure ulcers, and healthcare acquired infections. Healthcare providers create innovations and “best practices” that enhance excellence in patient care.


Hospitals and other healthcare interests are performing very targeted interventions in specific areas to improve the health of the patients and communities they serve. By clicking on each item under the "Improving Patient Care"  shaded column to the left, you can learn about some of the many programs now underway in Massachusetts.

Definition of Safety Culture 

 Safety culture is the sum of what an organization is and does in the pursuit of safety.  The Patient Safety Systems (PS) chapter of The Joint Commission accreditation manuals defines safety culture as the product of individual and group beliefs, values, attitudes, perceptions, competencies, and patterns of behavior that determine the organization’s commitment to quality and patient safety.

Healthcare Acquired Infections

Healthcare acquired infections (HAIs), also known as nosocomial infections, are infections that patients get while receiving treatment for medical or surgical conditions. HAIs occur in all settings of care, including hospitals, surgical centers, ambulatory clinics, and long-term care facilities such as nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities.


"Readmission" occurs when patients who have had a recent stay in the hospital go back into a hospital again. Patients may have been readmitted back to the same hospital or to a different hospital or acute care facility. They may have been readmitted for the same condition as their recent hospital stay, or for a different reason. Often referred to as "rehospitalization."

Pressure Ulcers

A pressure ulcer or bedsore is an injury to the skin or underlying tissue usually over a bony protruding area of the body. Pressure ulcers can range in severity from minor skin reddening to deep wounds. Factors that cause pressure ulcers are unrelieved pressure on the skin, or slight rubbing or friction on the skin.

Patient Falls

The National Quality Forum (NQF) defines a fall as an unplanned descent to the floor (or extension of the floor e.g., trash can or other equipment) with or without injury to the patient.

Hospitals in Pursuit of Excellence (HPOE)

HPOE provides field-tested practices, tools, education and other networking resources to accelerate performance improvement in the nation's hospitals. HPOE's fundamental principles support the Institute of Medicine's Six Aims for Improvement- care that is safe, timely, effective, efficient, equitable, and patient-centered (STEEEP).

  • Thanksgiving During COVID-19

    As Massachusetts residents plan for the Thanksgiving holiday, we offer the following considerations to help keep our friends, families, and communities safe during COVID-19. If you host a holiday celebration, keep it small. If you are considering travel, be aware of Massachusetts travel orders. If you participate in a celebration, follow public health guidance (Dos & Don’ts flyer available ...» Full Article
  • Ten HIIN Hospitals Made a Difference

    Ten Massachusetts hospital received certificates of appreciation recently thanking them for their participation in the national Hospital Improvement Innovation Network (HIIN) and their success in reducing patient harm. More than 4,000 hospitals were part of one of the 16 HIINs created nationwide in 2017. MHA helped coordinate the Massachusetts effort whose goal was to reduce all-cause preventable...» Full Article
  • Heywood Healthcare is Bringing Telehealth into its Local Schools

    Telemedicine is changing lives - including for students in North Central Massachusetts. Click here to learn more about Heywood Healthcare's Tele Behavioral School Base Counseling Program. ...» Full Article
  • PNQIN & Betsy Lehman Center – Virtual Town Halls on Pregnancy and COVID-19, Tuesdays at noon

    The Betsy Lehman Center and the Perinatal-Neonatal Quality Improvement Network of Massachusetts (PNQIN) are co-hosting a series of virtual town halls to share challenges and innovations in perinatal care during the pandemic. This past week’s town hall convened almost 250 participants and featured rapid fire presentations on six emerging challenges followed by an interactive discussion. Sig...» Full Article
  • Suicide Prevention Resources for Clinicians & Patients

    Medical professionals care. They also experience higher rates of burnout and depressive symptoms than the general population. In fact, suicide is estimated to be the second leading cause of death for medical residents, and American doctors take their lives at twice the rate of the general population. Samaritans, Inc. is here for you – and for your patients. The mission of Samaritans is t...» Full Article
  • MDPH – Information on the Outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

    The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is working closely with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide updated information about the novel coronavirus outbreak. Read more... ...» Full Article
  • MHA’s Ongoing Information About COVID-19

    MHA’s COVID-19 UPDATE aims to provide the Massachusetts hospital and healthcare community with the latest information on regional, national, and global efforts to counter the novel coronavirus. Because so much information – many of it conflicting – has been produced about the contagion, we hope the COVID-19 Update will cut through the clutter and present you with the most relevant need-to-k...» Full Article
  • 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) – Quick Summary

    All hospitals are aware of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) threat that the World Health Organization has termed a “global health emergency.” As hospitals review their infection control protocols, MHA is sharing this 26-page 2019 Novel Coronavirus Toolkit that Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Disaster Medicine created. At MHA’s Physician Leadership Council meeting this week,...» Full Article
  • South Shore Medical Center’s Quincy Location is Now Open!

    Take a look at South Shore Medical Center’s new state-of-the-art facility, located in the heart of Quincy Center at 1495 Hancock Street. ...» Full Article
  • Happy Patient Safety Day!

    September 17th is World Patient Safety Day and we wanted to thank you again for helping us to ensure access to high-quality patient care in your community. Massachusetts’ world-class providers are grounded on a simple concept: safe patients are healthy patients. The good news is that we consistently rank among the top states in patient safety. But there’s always more we can do, whether a...» Full Article
  • Telemedicine is Changing Lives

    Telemedicine is changing lives - including for students in North Central Massachusetts. Amazing programs like these need the support of legislation that ensures a strong future for tMed. Watch video here... ...» Full Article
  • Kudos to Southcoast Health for Supporting Great Local Organizations!

    This is community healthcare in action. NEW BEDFORD — Southcoast Health has announced the recipients of its Community Benefits Impact Opportunity program grants for Fiscal Year 2019. These annual, competitive grants address unmet health needs in communities on the SouthCoast, according to a press release. “We are passionate about improving the health of our patients and our communities,...» Full Article
  • Sturdy Memorial Awards Winner from American Heart Association & Stroke Association

    MHA applauds and are proud of Sturdy Memorial Hospital to have been recognized by the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association for meeting the latest research-based standards for stroke care. We're a dual-award winner, receiving both the STEMI Referring Center Gold Achievement and Stroke Honor Roll Elite Plus/Gold awards for our high quality and timely care of stroke patients! ...» Full Article
  • Broad Institute of MIT & Harvard 15th Birthday

    July 1st is Broad Institute’s 15th birthday!   Fifteen  years ago, MIT, Harvard, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Children’s Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital came together to launch the Broad Institute. Together, the scientists from across this community are tackling some of the biggest chal...» Full Article
  • MHA – They Come to Us

    In our patients' greatest time of need, in times of joy and celebration, they come to us. Watch Video here ... ...» Full Article
  • New Report Helps Hospitals Improve Care for Dementia Patients

    The Commonwealth’s Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias Acute Care Advisory Committee (ARDAC) explored challenges and opportunities to provide optimal care for those with dementia who are in acute care settings. The committee presented options for hospitals to improve both the care and experience for patients and caregivers. Our goals are to: Identify and communicate the challenges and opport...» Full Article
  • Happy National Hospital Week & National Nurses Week

    This National Hospital Week and National Nurses Week, we honor hospital employees for all they do each and every day, and highlight the important role hospitals and health systems have in their local communities. Thank for for all you do! Watch video........» Full Article
  • MHQP’s 2018 Adult Preventive Care Guidelines

    About the MHQP Adult Preventive Care Guidelines MHQP’s 2018 guidelines were developed by a collaborative group of  Massachusetts healthcare organizations. These are recommendations for providing preventive care to adult patients from the general population. These guidelines should not supplant clinical judgment or the needs of individual patients. These guidelines are intended as quality-pr...» Full Article
  • Alzheimer’s Association’s 2017 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts & Figures

    2017 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures is a statistical resource for U.S. data related to Alzheimer’s disease, the most common cause of dementia. Background and context for interpretation of the data are contained in the overview. Additional sections address prevalence, mortality and morbidity, caregiving, and use and costs of health care, long-term care and hospice. The Special Report exa...» Full Article
  • ICU Harm

    ICU Harm Related TopicsThe critical care unit can be the location where a patient harm event occurs or it can be the unit where patients are transferred following an event elsewhere. With this in mind, we have grouped the following Patnership for Patients (PfP) option year (or Leading Edge Advanced Practive Topics - LEAPT) topics together under "ICU Harm Related Topics": Failure to Rescue, Hospi...» Full Article
  • AHRQ’s Preventing Hospital Associated VTE Guide

    Hospital-associated venous thromboembolism (HA-VTE) is a common source of morbidity and mortality. While VTE sometimes occurs despite the best available prophylaxis, there are many lost opportunities to optimize prophylaxis and reduce VTE risk factors in virtually every hospital. This guide targets these failure modes in the process of preventing VTE in the inpatient setting and provides improveme...» Full Article
  • MA Hospital Improvement Innovation Network (HIIN)

    What is the MA Hospital Improvement Innovation Network (HIIN) The Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association (MHA) once again, is serving a Hospital Improvement Innovation Network (HIIN), as part of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Partnership for Patients (PfP) Campaign. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services awarded the Health Research & Educational Trust...» Full Article
  • Ventilator Associated Event (VAE)

    VAE Summary:Mechanically ventilated patients are at high risk for complications. These risks include VAE, peptic ulcer disease (PUD), gastrointestinal bleeding, aspiration, venous thromboembolic events (VTE), and problems with secretion management. Evidence-based interventions can reduce the risk of these complications and reduce the occurrence of VAE. Implementing the ventilator bundle has show...» Full Article
  • AHRQ’s Effective Health Care Program

    AHRQ's funds individual researchers, research centers, and academic organizations to work together with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to produce effectiveness and comparative effectiveness research for clinicians, consumers, and policymakers. AHRQ is the lead Federal agency charged with improving the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care for all Am...» Full Article
  • November 6, 2014 – Readmissions Summit

    November 6, 2014 - Readmissions Summit - Focused on Care across the Continuum - The MA Hospital Engagement Network sponsored a free learning event focusing on the partnerships to improve care management and coordination being developed between hospitals, SNFs, home care/hospice, primary care and community organizations. Presentations: Keynote Presentations All Breakout Sessions...» Full Article
  • Venous Thromboembolism (VTE)

      VTE Summary: Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a blood clot that starts in a vein. It is the third leading vascular diagnosis after heart attack and stroke, affecting about 300,000–600,000 Americans each year. There are two types: Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a clot in a deep vein, usually in the leg, but sometimes in the arm or other veins. Pulmonary embolism (PE) occurs when a...» Full Article
  • Airway Safety & Failure to Rescue (FTR)

    Airway SafetyApproximately 25,000 potentially life-threatening errors occur daily in hospital intensive care units (ICUs), and up to 10 percent of these adverse events involve unintended incidents in airway management; more than half of these errors have been deemed preventable (Needham, et al., 2004). Airway safety events refers to complications related to high-risk patients for airway compromi...» Full Article
  • Massachusetts STAAR Learning Session April 23, 2012 (with Presentations)

    Learner Objectives Describe successful approaches that have been implemented to improve care transitions Develop necessary skills for driving improvement  Improve the coordination of care through greater engagement of the cross-continuum team Agenda -with PPT Presentations (Agenda PDF here)Welcome and Set the Stage Presenter: Paula Griswold, MA Coalition for the Prevention of M...» Full Article
  • Massachusetts Alliance for Communication and Resolution following Medical Injury (MACRMI)

    The Massachusetts Hospital Association is a founding participant of the Massachusetts Alliance for Communication and Resolution following Medical Injury (MACRMI). Click here to learn more. Alan Woodward, MD from the Massachusetts Medical Society and Kenneth Sands, MD from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center provided MHA member hospitals with a briefing on December 3, 2012 on the Massachusetts A...» Full Article
  • Massachusetts Care Transitions Forum and Care Transitions Seminar

    Patients in transition - those who are moving from one care setting to another - are at increased risk for hospital re-admission (also known as re-hospitalization). Massachusetts is currently participating in many projects to address and improve hospital readmission issues, and these efforts are largely coordinated state-wide by a collaborative called the Massachusetts Care Transitions Forum, whic...» Full Article
  • State Action on Avoidable Rehospitalizations Initiative (STAAR)

    A multi-state project involving 53 hospitals, STAAR was launched by the Institute of Healthcare Improvement (IHI) in May 2009 with grant funding from The Commonwealth Fund. 22 Massachusetts hospitals are enrolled in the initiative.  To date, participating hospitals have formed cross-continuum teams and submitted baseline 30-day readmission rates. Now they are busy determining how to improve the p...» Full Article
  • M-LiNk: Mortality Learning-in-Network

    MORTALITY: LEARNING-in-NETWORK (M-LiNk) M-LiNk promoted a series of MHA and locally-sponsored educational offerings and related programs focused on reducing hospital mortality.  M-LiNk provided access to faculty experts, evidence-based interventions and local best practices to improve related structures, processes and outcomes. M-LiNk was a  peer-based learning opportunity for hospitals to: ...» Full Article