About the Greater Boston Aligning Forces For Quality Initiative
The Greater Boston Aligning Forces for Quality (GB AF4Q) Initiative works to develop a health care delivery system in Massachusetts where patients receive the right care at the right time in the right place. With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, this collaboration of key stakeholders aims to:
1. Reduce rates of non-urgent emergency department (ED) use by understanding and addressing patient drivers and reducing system and population-based barriers to primary care;
2. Reduce preventable ED visits, hospital admissions and readmissions for patients with ambulatory care sensitive conditions;
3. Increase compliance rates with recommended treatments and measurably improve outcomes for diabetes, pediatric asthma and hypertension;
4. Improve care experiences and patient engagement in ambulatory settings; and
5. Improve collection and use of standardized race, ethnicity, language and level of education (RELE) data for ambulatory care patients to reduce disparities in care and outcomes.
GB AF4Q Activities
Targeting our efforts on the interface between primary care and emergency care presents an important opportunity to improve quality, equity and access for patients, as well as reduce costs. State data indicates that nearly half of ED visits are deemed avoidable and account for 13 percent of preventable hospitalizations. Areas with medically underserved populations consistently have higher rates of preventable ED use.
Beginning first with diabetes, pediatric asthma and hypertension, we plan to build and implement a sustained effort to improve ambulatory care and avoid preventable ED and hospital use. All three conditions have high rates of prevalence in the Greater Boston area, with higher rates of incidence in minority populations. Using several tools, including performance measurement and reporting, quality improvement, payment reform and health information technology, GB AF4Q will implement a sustained effort to improve ambulatory and hospital care services around these conditions. GB AF4Q is:
Greater Boston Aligning Forces For Quality Leadership
GB AF4Q will draw on the community’s collective expertise to develop solutions that work. Led by Massachusetts Health Quality Partners and the Alliance for Appropriate and Affordable Healthcare (Triple A-H), the GB AF4Q governance structure aligns organizations and collaboratives in the area to advance health care quality and equity and reduce costs. The 35-member Leadership Team represents a diverse group of stakeholders from across the continuum of health care delivery, public health and community settings, as well as leaders of collaboratives for quality improvement, consumer engagement, advocacy, and employer interests. GB AF4Q joined Triple A-H’s Payment Reform Working Group and the Boston Public Health Commission’s Health Equity Committee to address issues of cost containment and disparities in health care. In 2011, additional workgroups will be established to support ambulatory quality improvement and consumer engagement objectives.
Support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Greater Boston is one of 16 communities across the country participating in the Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) initiative—the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s premier effort to lift the overall quality of health care in target communities across the country. Participation in this project brings an unprecedented commitment of resources, expertise and training to the Greater Boston health care community to turn proven practices into real results on the ground. For more information about GB AF4Q, please contact Leslie Kirle.