Documenting Quality: Two Film Products

An RWJF Communications Program

Field of Work: Documenting efforts to improve the quality of health care at medical institutions around the country.

Problem Synopsis: In 1999 and 2001, the Institute of Medicine issued reports, To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System and Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century, that documented serious deficiencies in American health care.

Synopsis of the Work: RWJF initiated a communications program, Documenting Quality (October 2002 to March 2007), to highlight the need and possibilities for dramatically improved care. Filmmakers created two media products—a four-part public television documentary and a series of seven motivational videos—that examined deficiencies in American health care and highlighted innovative efforts to improve the quality of care at specific institutions around the country. The purpose was to build support for fundamental redesign of the nation's health care system.

Key Results

  • Remaking American Medicine: Health Care for the 21st Century—a four-part documentary on improving health care delivery—aired on Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) stations nationwide in October 2006 and reached an estimated 7.5 million viewers.

  • Pursuing Perfection in Health Care—a series of seven motivational videos on redesigning health care delivery processes—premiered in December 2004 and became available through the Web site of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI). The series highlights improvements by participants in Pursuing Perfection: Raising the Bar for Health Care Performance, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

  • The outreach campaign drew support from 49 national organizations, with memberships and constituencies totaling more than 100 million people. At the local level, 26 community coalitions involving more than 450 groups participated. The campaign's media relations efforts reached as many as 111 million people.

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