In 2006, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation launched a bold, 10-year experiment through the Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) initiative, which sought to lift the overall quality, equality, and value of healthcare in 16 communities across the country. In each AF4Q community, a regional alliance of doctors, patients, consumers, insurers, and employers worked collaboratively to transform their local healthcare system.
Lessons from these transformations were then used to develop national models for reform. Alliances were tasked with addressing five “forces” to enhance quality while reducing costs:
- performance measurement and reporting;
- quality improvement;
- engaging consumers in their health and health care;
- reducing health care disparities; and
- reforming payment.
AIR provided technical assistance to help the 16 Alliances meet quality and cost goals by engaging consumers in their health and healthcare. AIR conducted qualitative research with consumers to develop evidence-based recommendations to describe, label, and display quality and cost information in public reports. Findings from focus groups and cognitive interviews were used to provide individualized technical assistance to engage consumers in specific geographic regions and to develop global materials (issue brief, implementation guides) that the Alliances used to educate and engage consumers.