Thursday, August 26th, 2010
By Ed Howe
Former President and CEO, Aurora Health Care
Aligning Forces for Quality is the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's signature effort to lift the overall quality of healthcare in targeted communities. The goal is to reduce racial and ethnic disparities and to provide models for national reform.
Dr. John Lumpkin, M.D., M.P.H., the Senior Vice President and Director of the Health Care Group at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation says improving healthcare quality really needs to start in each community. Collaboration is critical to the success of Aligning Forces for Quality. The program brings together patients, doctors, nurses and employers and teaches them to work together instead of competing against one another.
"This isn't just an issue of what happens in a single physician's office, or a nurse practitioner's office, or another care provider's office or in a hospital. What these collaborations have done is to bring all these interested parties together to have conversations that they haven't had before about how each of them can play a role," says Dr. Lumpkin.
Here are some of the initial results reported by the foundation:
- In Cleveland, 26,000 diabetics are getting better diabetes care and are seeing their blood sugar under better control.
- In Minnesota, at least 10,000 people with diabetes are getting better care.
- In Detroit, thousands of individuals, are getting much better care in terms of screening for breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and asthma care.
A number of communities that are involved in the program are now displaying a public report that offers information about docotor's offices and hospitals. This allows patients to see the quality of care being offered and allows physicians to see how they are performing compared to others.
Below, you can hear interviews with some of those involved with this program. Listen and then let us know what you think about the idea.