Greater Boston Aligning Forces for Quality

What We Did:

MHQP led the Greater Boston coalition for Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q), The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s multipronged effort to lift the overall quality of health care in communities across the nation.  Boston was one of 16 communities selected to participate.  This endeavor focused on three areas:

  1. Engaging Consumers in Health Care

Launched in 2011, MHQP’s Consumer Health Council (CHC)—comprised of patients, family caregivers, and patient advocates—served in an advisory role on this project, bringing the patient and community perspective to its many efforts. The CHC continues to be a core element of MHQP’s governance structure today, ensuring that the patient perspective is woven into the fabric of the organization.  Its members have helped to drive MHQP’s work to better engage healthcare consumers, patients, and their families.

  1. Measuring and Reporting

MHQP convened a statewide pilot group to identify and discuss variations in how physicians treat patients with similar conditions. Research indicates that exploring such variations, through practice pattern variation analysis (PPVA), can lead to improvements in healthcare quality and cost efficiency by reducing unnecessary or inappropriate care. The PPVA pilot program became a statewide collaborative initiative directed by MHQP.

The project also helped fund and support the Boston Health Equity Measure Set. The Boston Public Health Commission, working with hospitals and health centers, developed and implemented the new set of 19 measures for primary care and emergency care.

  1. Building Community Capacity for Health

In Roxbury, the Boston community with the highest rates of childhood asthma and adult diabetes, the project supported a neighborhood health improvement effort called Healthier Roxbury, in partnership with the Boston Alliance for Community Health. The effort brought Roxbury community stakeholders—including providers and provider institutions, community-based organizations, and residents—together around shared accountability for improving outcomes related to childhood asthma and adult diabetes.

Who Was Involved:

The project was funded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and included participation from a coalition of more than 30 Boston-area organizations focused on collaboratively improving quality in healthcare.

Why This Work Matters:

This project reinforced the importance of cross-sectoral collaboration to improve healthcare at the community level.  It also reinforced MHQP’s unique position as an independent coalition of key stakeholder groups in Massachusetts.  This project also spawned other important work in the years hence, including the publication of patient experience data in a special publication of Consumer Reports and an extension of the practice pattern variation analysis (PPVA) pilot.

Healthier Roxbury Coalition member and Roxbury resident, Al Whitaker, shares how his own experiences with diabetes inspired him to take part in a collective community effort to connect other Roxbury residents with the tools and resources to manage diabetes and maintain health.

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