ACHP Reports on Patient-Centered Quality Initiatives for 2004

Washington, DC – The Alliance of Community Health Plans (ACHP) today reported on a set of local initiatives to activate consumers in enhancing the quality of care they receive.  ACHP described these its program as one of the “national champions” invited to participate in the Institute of Medicine’s  (IOM) January 6-7 Summit.  The Summit convened local communities, businesses, health providers, insurers and government agencies to stimulate local and national quality improvement efforts that are called for by the IOM’s report, Crossing the Quality Chasm.

Under the “Advancing Better Care” (ABC) initiative, six ACHP members, serving more than 10 million Americans, are employing a range of strategies to engage consumers in decisions about their care.  Participating organizations will meet twice over the course of the coming year to identify measures, report on results, identify and evaluate best practices, and set future strategies.

“The IOM has challenged all of us to transform health care in this country,” noted Cheryl Scott, president and chief executive officer of Group Health Cooperative in Seattle and chair of the ACHP Board of Directors. “ACHP members, Group Health Cooperative and others, are taking the lead in responding to that challenge.”

“Consumers and patients want and need to be engaged with their providers in making decisions about their health and health care,” said Jack Ebeler, president and chief executive officer of ACHP.  “That engagement is essential if we are to transform the quality and value of health care in the United States.”

The ACHP member initiatives to enhance patient engagement are as follows (more detail is available in the ABC Backgrounder, and at ACHP’s website, www.achp.org):

  • HealthPartners in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Fallon Community Health Plan in Worchester, Massachusetts are collaborating with statewide coalitions of health plans to publicly share comparative, quality of care performance results for health care providers.
  • Kaiser Permanente, in California and its other regions, is pursuing a multi-faceted strategy to improve its members’ self-care skills and enable them to work with their providers to make more effective shared medical treatment decisions.  It includes efforts ranging from self-management elements in KP’s new electronic medical record to provider education, with a focus on chronic disease self-management.

  • Group Health Cooperative, based in Seattle, Washington, is enhancing patient use of on-line access to their medical records through their web-based “MyGroupHealth,” which allows patients to track their own health, request certain services, and communicate with their health care team.
  • Group Health Cooperative in Madison, Wisconsin, is enhancing the use of online patientaccess to their medical records through “MyChart,” which also allows patients to track their health, request certain services, and communicate with their health care team.
  • HIP Health Plan of New York is initiating an extensive women’s wellness initiative, providing targeted information on the full spectrum of women’s health care needs as well as information to engage women in the pivotal role they plan in managing the health care needs of the family.

George Isham, MD, chief medical officer at HealthPartners and chair of the IOM panel that recommended Priority Areas for National Action in January, 2003, said, “HealthPartners is pleased to join with ACHP as a ‘national champion’ at this Summit.  We cannot transform health care quality unless patients and consumers are involved and engaged in their own health and work with their health professionals to make health care decisions that provide the best results.”

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The Institute of Medicine issued its path breaking report Crossing the Quality Chasm in 2001.  That report calls for a radical transformation of health care in the United States.  In 2003, the IOM followed up on that report with Priority Areas for National Action, recommending 20 specific priority areas for action.  The IOM Crossing the Quality Chasm Summit on January 6-7, 2004, brings together stakeholders from around the country to commit to specific actions to improve care in priority areas.

ACHP has a membership of 12 health plans and provider organizations from around the country.  These plans belong to ACHP because of their commitment to providing better-coordinated, higher quality care; affordable coverage; and value for the health care dollar. ACHP adopted as its mission the six aims for quality health care set forth by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) – health care that is safe, effective, patient-centered, timely, efficient and equitable.