How Are Local Efforts Improving Health Care Quality?

American health care faces a quality crisis. There is a dangerous divide between the high quality of care our health care system is capable of delivering and the uneven quality that it is actually delivering.

While this is a national problem, health care is delivered locally and fixing it requires local action. With significant private and public funding, concerted regional efforts to improve the care delivered in communities have grown in recent years and are serving as models for national reform.

These initiatives usually are led by local health care experts and groups seeking to enhance quality, increase use of health information technology, measure and report the performance of providers, engage consumers and re-think how we pay for care.

Three of the largest funders of regional initiatives are the federal government, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Together they have invested more than half a billion dollars to improve health care in select areas.

This Health Policy Snapshot, published online in August 2011, outlines the federal and private programs that are working to improve local efforts at delivering care.