RWJF, ONC, national health leaders launch quality effort

By Mary Mosquera
03:20 PM

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has launched an effort to increase awareness about what consumers can do to identify and receive higher quality health care.

The “Care about Your Care” project is a month-long effort starting Sept. 1 to help consumers become more aware about the uneven quality of care that the U.S. health system delivers.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) is supporting the campaign as part of its consumer engagement efforts, along with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), both of which are part of the Health and Human Services Department.

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National organizations, including the National Partnership for Women and Families, Consumers Union, the American Nurses Association and the American College of Physicians, and television medical commentator Dr. Mehmet Oz will help to spark conversation about the steps individuals can take to improve their care, the foundation said in an announcement Aug. 31.

The project aims to help individuals learn what quality health care is, look for the right care for themselves and their families, and live better by engaging more closely in their own health care, said Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation CEO.

The website offers resources to help consumers better understand quality care, how they can find out more about the care provided by doctors and hospitals in their community, and how they can become more engaged patients.

“Even though more information about health care quality is available than ever before, few people use that information to make decisions about their care, or even ask doctors and nurses all the questions they have,” Lavizzo-Mourey said.

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Consumer e-health and patient benefits are incorporated into the meaningful use of electronic health records (EHRs), health IT certification and health information exchange, but more focused attention on consumers is needed to get them involved in their health care, Dr. Farzad Mostashari, the national health IT coordinator, has said.

On Sept. 15, the foundation, other organizations and personalities will spotlight the momentum of the quality movement and provide real examples of transformative change among patients and physicians.

The foundation effort will highlight local efforts to improve the quality of care underway in various regions, such as the foundation’s Aligning Force for Quality program directed at raising care quality in 16 communities and provide models for national reform, and ONC’s Beacon Communities program to promote electronic health record system adoption and coordinated healthcare interventions in 17 communities. AHRQ has the Chartered Value Exchange program, made up of 24 community quality alliances.