September 27, 2012 Back to All Blogs

Aligning Forces for Quality

Community Health Goes National

New Website Allows Local Health Initiative to Elevate its Message

Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-backed effort to improve the quality of health care at the local level. The effort has brought together health care teams and patients in 16 communities around the country to work toward objectives that will lead to better care. AF4Q’s reach encompasses more than 12 percent of the U.S. population.

The success of such an effort involves a lot of communication and the collection and organization of an enormous amount of information and data. AF4Q has collected two million data points since its founding, and alliance members have used that information to drive improvement within their communities.

In order for AF4Q to have an impact, its results must fuel action. But when the effort began, its website was only viewable by those who were part of the alliance. That wasn’t sufficient for an organization that was looking to expand its impact. AF4Q Associate Director Alicia Aeborsold, who had worked with Pantheon at the National Quality Forum, contacted Pantheon again to build a new, public AF4Q website that would allow AF4Q to extend its reach beyond its direct participants.

“When we started, our only audience was members in of the alliance in the 16 communities,” Aeborsold said. “We’re trying to spread to more communities across the country. The goal is to have the results fuel action and innovation in other communities.”

The work Pantheon performed included:

  • Website development
  • Communication tools
  • Information architecture
  • Content re-organization
  • Integration of a CRM to manage access to content
  • Tools to manage data submission
  • Implementation of an online training system

As AF4Q’s mission is driven by results, it is critical that the participating communities have a tool with which to easily collaborate and share information about the positive and negative outcomes of their work. The site Pantheon designed allows both.

“Before the redesign, it was important to have a firewall,” Aebersold said. “But now, it makes sense to share the results of what we’re doing. Everything is about going public with what we’ve been working on. We want to share the lessons we’ve learned.”

Now, a visitor to the site will find examples of innovative projects and research being conducted within the 16 communities, including:

  • The Healthy Memphis Common Table in Memphis, Tennessee, which works to alleviate “food deserts,” areas in developed nations where healthy, affordable food is difficult to obtain.
  • A video describing the Planned Care Collaborative, which brings together several Central Pennsylvania medical practices for coaching on how to improve quality of care.
  • The “Is it an emergency or an urgency?” campaign in Albuquerque, New Mexico, aimed at helping consumers determine whether their medical needs should be treated at an emergency room or an urgent care center.
  • Project Healthy Grad, which aims to increase high school graduation rates in western Michigan and require schools to screen for insurance status and eligibility and connect students to postsecondary tuition assistance programs.
  • Efforts by health plans in Minnesota to reduce unnecessary high-tech diagnostic imaging scans, a major factor in rising healthcare costs.

Pantheon completed AF4Q’s website redesign and development on an accelerated schedule. In the works are an automated monthly newsletter and more tools to improve internal collaboration.

“I think Pantheon has made people feel very comfortable,” Aebersold said. “They’re not your typical Web firm. They meet people where they are and draw out questions to identify specific needs. They’ll help you figure out what you’re asking and how to achieve it as opposed to just giving you what you ask for. They’ve become part of the team.”