Healthcare Quality Week: Celebrating the Improvement of Quality in Healthcare

In the healthcare industry, patients are not satisfied with mediocre care. Healthcare providers aim to offer high-quality care to their patients. Prioritizing quality is vital to ensure that patients receive proper care, processes are efficient and effective, and unnecessary burdens are not placed on providers.  

This past Sunday, October 21, kicked off Healthcare Quality Week. As an initiative of the National Association for Healthcare Quality, this week is devoted to spotlighting professionals who have aided in the improvement of healthcare quality. Monday, October 22, is CPHQ Appreciation Day. A member of the SE Healthcare team, Judi Olnick, CPHQ, has dedicated her career to improving quality in healthcare.  

Judi serves as a Senior Risk & Safety Consultant for SE Healthcare. As a Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ), Judi has more than 30 years of experience working in healthcare quality, patient safety, and risk management. Throughout her career, Judi has worked as a consultant to healthcare clients. In the acute care hospital environment, Judi has worked as the Director of Risk and Quality Management and Patient Safety Officer as well as Regulatory Compliance Officer. In the following interview, Judi discusses how her career has been shaped by working to improve quality of care.  

SE Healthcare: When did you become a CPHQ? Can you please give a brief overview of your career in healthcare prior to becoming a CPHQ?  

Judi Olnick, CPHQ: I became certified in healthcare quality in 1988. I began my career in medical records management. In the mid-1980s, the PA Healthcare Cost Containment Council (PHC4) was established and hospitals were required to submit data elements. PHC4 was charged with collecting, analyzing, and reporting information that could be used to improve quality and restrain the cost of healthcare in Pennsylvania. This was my introduction in the quality arena. 

SE Healthcare: How has being certified as a CPHQ advanced your career as a healthcare professional?  

Judi Olnick, CPHQ: By becoming a Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality, I was able to establish credibility within the healthcare industry as being knowledgeable about the importance of examining processes and using data to drive improvement rather than making decisions solely based on past practice or experience. Clinical and critical thinkers are impacted by data. Having data to support a change in practice or process is powerful. Quality Assurance, as it was commonly referred to then, evolved into Quality Improvement, Performance Improvement, Total Quality Management, Six Sigma, Lean, and other methods. By having the CPHQ credential, I have been afforded opportunities to grow as the field expanded.    

Starting my career with this credential provided me with opportunities to work in risk management and patient safety and exposed me to all aspects within a healthcare organization. I was not just exposed to, but was integrated in a myriad of departments, processes, and so much more.  I took advantage of every opportunity and valued every individual as they helped me to learn and understand their world. With this understanding, I could help them embark on ways to improve their care.  A positive change can be far reaching, impacting patients, providers, and so many other aspects in healthcare.     

A positive change can be far reaching, impacting patients, providers, and so many other aspects in healthcare.     

SE Healthcare: As a CPHQ, you educate clients on formulating quality plans. You have also worked as the Director of Risk and Quality Management. Considering this experience, what is your biggest piece of advice for healthcare professionals relating to providing quality care?  

Judi Olnick, CPHQ: Arm yourself with information and use that information to drive change.  Change is often difficult and sometimes painfully slow. Using the right methods, tools, and assembling credible information to demonstrate why making a change will positively impact something is important – be it clinical outcomes or a more effective or efficient process. Seeing the change unfold and having what may have been nay-sayers seeing it work is exciting! 

SE Healthcare: Considering the same experience mentioned above, what is the biggest lapse in providing quality care that you have observed throughout your career?  

Judi Olnick, CPHQ: Not a lapse perhaps but certainly an opportunity for improvement is establishing more effective processes for patient engagement. 

To learn more about how the SE Healthcare team can help your practice improve quality and safety, click here to review our data analytics solutions for healthcare providers.

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About Author

Judi Olnick

Judi is a Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ) with more than 30 years of experience working in the areas of healthcare quality, patient safety, and risk mitigation. Judi works as the Senior Risk and Safety Consultant for Saxton & Stump, LLC and SE Healthcare Quality Consulting. In this position, Judi educates and assists with matters including risk assessment and recommendations, safety programs, quality plans, and related performance improvement measures. Judi is a member of numerous organizations including the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management and Central Pennsylvania Association for Healthcare Quality. She currently serves as the Quality Improvement Advisor for Fame Emergency Medical Services.