RWJF-Funded Issue of Health Affairs: Still Crossing the Quality Chasm

Apr 21, 2011, 2:55 PM, Posted by mfreeman

Ten years ago, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) issued Crossing the Quality Chasm, a landmark report calling for major quality and safety improvements in the nation’s health care system. It came on the heels of the IOM’s 1999 To Err Is Human Report, which estimated that there are 44,000 to 98,000 error-induced hospital deaths each year. That report made an urgent and compelling case that improvement was needed.

In the years since, quality and safety have been top-of-the-agenda priorities for researchers, clinicians and policy-makers alike. With funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), this April’s issue of Health Affairs takes a look at where things stand today, assessing a decade’s worth of progress toward safer, more effective, patient-centered health care. In a series of articles, several by RWJF scholars and alumni, the issue examines a range of related topics supporting the theme of the issue, “still crossing the quality chasm.” In an overview, Editor-in-Chief Susan Dentzer writes,

As a number of articles in the issue demonstrate, there’s no doubt we’ve made progress—but it’s also clear that making any headway has been agonizingly slow. If ever the state of high-quality health care appeared to be an achievable end point, we recognize now that—to paraphrase Ralph Waldo Emerson—quality, like life, is not a destination but a journey.

In one article, Mary Naylor, R.N., Ph.D., F.A.A.N., program director of the Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative (INQRI), joins Linda Aiken, M.N., Ph.D., a recipient of an RWJFInvestigator Award in Health Policy Research, and others to examine transitional care interventions for chronically ill adults.

In another article, RWJF Physician Faculty Scholar Amal Trivedi, M.D., M.P.H., joins RWJF Clinical Scholars and Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program alumna Donna Washington, M.D., M.P.H., in an examination of persistent racial disparities in patient outcomes at Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities.

In all, the issue includes contributions from 14 current and alumni RWJF scholars and fellows from the following programs:

For an overview of RWJF scholar and fellow opportunities, visit

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Human Capital Blog. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors.