Quality Counts

Throughout the nation, hospitals and other health care providers are talking about and taking steps toward the concept of “volume to value.” This pursuit is based on the idea that hospitals ought to be compensated based not on how many patients they treat, but rather on how well they treat their patients.

This is leading hospitals on a path of holistic care of patients and communities, a path of keeping people healthy before they get to the hospital, so that they receive the best care, at the right time and in the right place. It’s an endeavor that aims to treat the entire person rather than simply treat an illness.

In many ways, what’s old is new. Hippocrates, the father of western medicine, espoused a similar philosophy roughly 2,500 years ago: “It’s more important to know what sort of person has a disease than to know what sort of disease a person has.”

This brave new world is built on the foundational principle that the foremost priority of hospitals is to provide safe care. That principle is intrinsic for all of Maryland’s hospitals, and they are guided in its pursuit by a unique agreement between the federal government and the state that enables the rates for hospital services to be set by an independent statewide commission. The agreement lays out aggressive quality improvement goals. Among these are a 30 percent reduction in health care-acquired infections and a significant reduction in readmissions by 2019.

Alongside the affiliated Maryland Patient Safety Center, MHA works with hospitals to enhance patient safety and improve the health of Maryland's communities