The Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) Alliances, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, are leading multiple initiatives to improve the quality of care while lowering costs in their communities. As part of this effort, some Alliances have launched programs to educate consumers about unnecessary variations in the cost and quality of care. The American Institutes for Research (AIR) partnered with two Alliances—AF4Q South Central Pennsylvania and Healthy Memphis Common Table—to conduct one-on-one interviews with consumers in their communities to learn how to display and describe cost and quality data. This report presents guidelines for public reporting of cost and quality information in an effective, relevant, and consumer-friendly manner that promotes high-quality, affordable choices.

The type of cost data available in a community depends on many factors. Cost may be displayed in terms of an average or an estimate, overall price of service or out-of-pocket cost to the consumer, and general or specific to an insurer and coverage level. As such, throughout this report, costs are referred to in a generic manner, and options are provided for reporting different types of costs in the most understandable way.

Watch the accompanying presentation here.