The Five Guiding Principles

 1. Advancing Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety

  • PatientCareLink (PCL) assists participating healthcare organizations to monitor and report progress on their efforts to continuously improve quality of care and patient safety.
  • PCL provides proven patient safety strategies and best practices to guide healthcare organizations to improve their processes and outcomes of care.
  • Our care providers share a broad range of patient care Success Stories that recognize best practices and demonstrate visible improvements in patient outcomes.
  • PCL affords healthcare organizations the ability to monitor improvement trends over time on specific endeavors.

2. Providing Hospital Staffing that Meets Patient Needs

  • Massachusetts and HARI member hospitals voluntarily make staffing plans available to patients and the public by posting them on the PatientCareLink (PCL) website. These annual plans describe staffing in each hospital clinical unit (adult critical care, adult step-down, adult medical, adult surgical, adult medical/surgical combined, behavioral health, rehabilitation and emergency department) by shift.
  • The plans also describe the factors that nurse leaders must consider in determining how to care for each patient, and offer information on care provided on an "hours per patient day" basis. Nurse leaders who are responsible for putting their facility’s staffing plan together gather information and advice from nurses and other members of the patient care team.
  • Hospitals also submit annual aggregate staffing data, producing a planned versus actual staffing report. These reports also provide the hospitals an opportunity to include explanations for variations between staffing plans versus actual staffing that may occur for a variety of reasons.

3. Making Healthcare Data and Performance Measures Transparent and Publicly Available

  • PCL-participating hospitals and home care agencies are committed to a common framework to assess and report healthcare quality. Hospitals have been publicly reporting the same nursing-sensitive, evidence-based measures selected from the National Quality Forum (NQF) since 2007.
  • Performance measures from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Hospital Compare and Home Health Compare websites are also available on PCL.  This provides consumers with additional hospital and home care performance data to assist in making informed healthcare decisions.
  • The PCL  initiative  supports and encourages partnerships among healthcare organizations and leaders of business, government, consumer groups, and others to promote access to high-quality, safe care. Such efforts include expanding health insurance coverage, sustaining the capacity of the healthcare system to deliver care, and identifying ways to assist providers of care to obtain and deploy new technologies to advance patient safety.

4. Empowering Patients and Families in their Healthcare Choices

  • PCL places important healthcare information in the hands of consumers.  It is a transparent resource for staffing, quality and safety data from hospitals, home care agencies, government agencies and other independent sources.
  • PCL serves as a resource for information on a myriad of healthcare topics, all designed to encourage and assist individuals to participate in their care and make healthcare decisions that are right for them. Tools that can be found on the PCL website include advance care planning and healthcare proxies, information on preventing infections and/or hospital readmissions, and patient fact sheets on opioid risks.
  • These tools and resources are updated regularly and can be aids to promote health throughout one’s lifespan.

5. Promoting Development/Advancement of the Healthcare Workforce in a Safe, Respectful &
   Supportive Work Environment

  • PCL-affiliated organizations create hospital, home health and community-based initiatives and strategic partnerships to tackle the workforce shortages of nurses and other care professionals. Efforts include innovative "career ladders," residency programs, mentoring and preceptor opportunities, joint funding of nurse faculty positions in educational institutions, and employer initiatives to increase workforce diversity.  Highlights of the MHA and ONL annual survey results for hospital nurse staffing in Massachusetts are also available through PatientCareLink.
  • PCL supports the work of the Massachusetts Action Coalition (MAAC), created following the Institute of Medicine’s Future of Nursing report and subsequent Campaign for Action.  Goals of MAAC include fostering academic progression in nursing programs by creating accelerated pathways for nurses to achieve baccalaureate (or higher) degrees and promoting the integration of Nurse of the Future Core Competencies (NOFNCC©) in academic and practice settings partnerships.
  • PCL supports the sharing and adoption of recognized programs, practices and innovations that support performance excellence and a healthy and safe workplace. Examples include workforce health, wellness & recognition programs; safe patient handling guidelines and team communication tools such as TeamSTEPPS (Team Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety).
  • Our sponsors and participants support legislation and guidelines to promote workplace safety efforts and protect all patients and hospital, home health, and other provider employees from workplace violence. Participating caregivers monitor progress of efforts to improve the work environment. Examples of such 'practice environment assessments' include surveying caregivers and measuring improvement over time on specific employee satisfaction endeavors.