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Aligning Forces for Quality: Increasing value in health care

Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) is the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s signature effort to lift the overall quality of health care in targeted communities, reduce racial and ethnic disparities and provide models for national reform. The Washington Health Alliance was selected in 2006 to be one of 16 AF4Q communities.

Two men and four women sit at a table, speaking to an audience.

Cindy Keltner (HealthCare Quality Institute) introduces Washington Health Alliance staff and board members (left to right) Jim Andrianos, Dorothy Teeter, Ron Sims, Caroline Whalen and Karen Wren who spoke about paying for value in health care. Photo credit: P.F. Anderson.

At the time, we were just beginning to report on health care quality in Washington. Our participation in the AF4Q program, which not only included significant financial but also technical support and invaluable networking with other regional health improvement collaboratives, helped us accelerate our work in performance measurement and public reporting to where we are today.

With the AF4Q program scheduled to conclude next spring, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation hosted a national summit last month to bring together representatives from all 16 communities to share how they have increased value in health care. The Alliance was well-represented, with a panel of our board and committee members talking about the health care value tools we’ve developed, and our director of communication and development (and part-time bed and breakfast owner) John Gallagher educating an audience on how serving a good breakfast is a lot like running a successful consumer engagement campaign.

The value of the AF4Q program and the Washington Health Alliance was recently recognized as examples of “continuing hope” to transform the US health care system in an editorial for the Journal of the American Medical Association (subscription required). We feel fortunate to have participated in a program with such a positive and lasting impact.

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Published: December 9, 2014

About Washington Health Alliance

The Washington Health Alliance is a place where stakeholders work collaboratively to transform Washington state’s health care system for the better. The Alliance brings together organizations that share a commitment to drive change in our health care system by offering a forum for critical conversation and aligned efforts by stakeholders: purchasers, providers, health plans, consumers and other health care partners. The Alliance believes strongly in transparency and offers trusted and credible reporting of progress on measures of health care quality and value. The Alliance is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) nonprofit with more than 185 member organizations. A cornerstone of the Alliance's work is the Community Checkup, a report to the public comparing the performance of medical groups, hospitals and health plans and offering a community-level view on important measures of health care quality (www.wacommunitycheckup.org).

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