Spotlight on Greater Boston
Thursday, December 4, 2014
Greater Boston
Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) is the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s signature effort to lift the quality of health care in 16 diverse communities, reduce racial and ethnic disparities, and provide models for national reform. AF4Q brings together people who get care, give care, and pay for care to work together toward the shared goal of better health and health care.
Today's issue of Spotlight features the work of AF4Q's Greater Boston Alliance.
Building Healthy Neighborhoods in Boston

Health care leaders in Boston are helping residents in traditionally underserved communities get the resources they need to improve their health. Local health organizations are developing creative solutions to educate and engage all local residents—from seeking input from patients with diabetes to building comprehensive public health awareness campaigns.

"If we really wanted to make change over time and reduce rates of chronic conditions, we needed to have the community at the table and engage them,” said Leslie Kirle, Director of Greater Boston Aligning Forces for Quality. From community-level health interventions to the creation of online resources on the quality of care offered by local hospitals and physicians, educating and engaging local residents in their care is central to Massachusetts Health Quality Partners participation in AF4Q.

How to Build a Sustainable Patient Experience Program
Patient experience surveys, particularly those that use validated questions such as the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Clinician & Group Surveys (CG-CAHPS®), give providers feedback on patients’ office visits. Practices can then take specific steps to improve the care experience.
Massachusetts Health Quality Partners (MHQP), which leads the state’s Aligning Forces for Quality efforts, worked with Consumer Reports to publish patient experience survey data on Massachusetts health care providers as an insert in its July 2012 publication. Distributed to nearly 120,000 Consumer Reports subscribers across the state, the insert included ratings for 329 adult care and 158 pediatric care practices. It rated physicians on their performance in the following areas: communication, coordination of care, whole patient knowledge, working with office staff, preventive care, and pediatric care.
Analyzing Variation to Drive Down Costs
Is it possible to improve health care quality and reduce costs? The Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) initiative in Greater Boston, operated by Massachusetts Health Quality Partners (MHQP), says the answer is yes—and the Alliance has identified a key starting point.
Studies (e.g., Wennberg and others) in clinician practice patterns have clearly demonstrated wide, unexplained variation in medical and surgical services, resulting in higher costs and lower quality.
These studies sparked the idea for MHQP’s Practice Pattern Variation Analysis (PPVA) Collaborative Multi-Stakeholder Project. The Alliance was selected to spearhead the project based on its previous successes with collaborative statewide measurement initiatives in Massachusetts. The goal of the project is to implement a statewide evidence-based analysis, reporting, and improvement program to deepen clinicians’ and other stakeholders’ understanding of practice variation that may suggest overuse or underuse of medical services.
The conversations the Alliance’s PPVA initiative is having will lead to changes in behavior through engaging clinicians in variation-focused quality improvement initiatives, developing evidence-based community standards, promoting specialty society discussions, and other activities that will positively impact the cost and quality of care provided to patients.
Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) is the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) signature effort to lift the overall quality of health care in targeted communities, reduce racial and ethnic disparities in health care and provide models for national reform. Alliance teams represent the people who get care, give care, and pay for care.
See the newsletter archive
Aligning Forces for Quality
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Join our group Connect with us Follow Aligning Forces for Quality on RSS Follow us Subscribe to our channel
© 2015 Aligning Forces for Quality