Great Plains Quality Innovation Network staff answering questions at the South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations vendor booth.


Each fall, healthcare professionals in South Dakota trade a day or two of patient rounds and healthcare services for conference sessions and networking. From mid-September well into October, content experts share their insights on a broad range of topics from health information technology to diabetes self-management and beyond.

“We take every opportunity to inform and engage our peers and partners about the priority health topics impacting Medicare consumers across the state and nation,” explained Nancy McDonald, RN, BSN, CPHQ, director of quality improvement for Great Plains Quality Innovation Network (QIN). “Sharing best practices and quality improvement resources to a wider audience allows us to advance efforts and impact positive health outcomes.”

Holly Arends, CHSP, CMQP, program manager for Great Plains QIN, participated in a panel discussion on the quality payment program at the South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations (SDAHO) and her colleagues, led by Katy Burket, RN, made their way through the vendor hall passing out #thinksepsis stickers to everyone in sight.

Stories began to flow and small groups began to gather.  The discussions reinforced the need for addressing these priority topics and allowed for sharing of struggles, challenges and personal impacts of the never-ending efforts to improve quality of care.

Music & Memory program staff hosting their vendor booth. These personal stories of impact are a pivotal element of the Music & Memory program currently being implemented in 55 nursing facilities across the state. Information was provided at SDAHO and the South Dakota HealthCare Association about this innovative approach to reduce antipsychotic medication use and improve quality of life for residents and care givers. Teresa Haatvedt, RN, BSN, and Kayla Nielsen, MBA, are coordinating the program training and implementation to use music as an alternative therapy for individuals experiencing dementia.

Quality Payment Program, diabetes self-management and antibiotic stewardship were the focus for the Great Plains QIN booth at the Nurse Practitioner Association of South Dakota in Rapid City and antibiotic stewardship prescription pads were in high-demand.

The Home Health Infection Prevention Toolkit has also seen broad exposure including over 670 downloads by 37 states and multiple international locations. Cheri Fast, RN, BSN, WOCN  was instrumental in the development of the toolkit and provided an overview at the South Dakota Infection Control meeting.

October’s calendar rounded out with the Diabetes Coalition and HealthLink Forum as Linda Penisen, RNC, OTR/L and the care coordination team also prepared for the launch of Let’s Not Re-invent the Wheel: A Patient-Centered Approach to Preventing Readmissions.

In a fitting conclusion to the annual conference season, Denise Kolba, RN, MS, CNS participated in a panel before joining Vicki Palmrueter and Cheri Fast, RN, BSN, WOCN, to accept the Better Choices, Better Health Champion Award for 2018 on behalf of the Great Plains QIN during the Office of Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion event held on October 17, 2018.

“These opportunities to meet face-to-face are so valuable,” reflected McDonald. “Healthcare professionals in every area and setting are personally invested in improving quality of life for those who receive care and, in turn, we are personally investing in helping them succeed.”