I came back from the Aligning Forces for Quality (#AF4Q) conference last month, all excited and wanting to assemble this post right away. Now, weeks later, and life happened but the blogpost didn’t, to my disappointment. Hopefully the wait will turn out to be worth it, as I’ve been mentally percolating what I heard and learned while there. Here’s my plan. First, begin with highlights from the Twitter stream. Next, choose a few of the Youtube videos from the event to highlight or react to particular concepts. Then, if I have time (which is unlikely), I’d like to do a recap / overview piece. What is more likely to happen is that ideas and concepts and strategies I heard at AF4Q will continue to inform other work I do, and will be shared in those contexts as they arise.
What is Aligning Forces for Quality? When I was invited to attend, that was my second question. The first question was, “Is this legit?” I had somehow not heard about AF4Q previously, and so I wondered who are these people, why are they inviting me, and what is this about? The AF4Q project turns out to be one of the many healthcare projects funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. That answers the question of legitimacy rather nicely, I thought! This particular project has been a several year initiative to explicitly attempt to revolutionize the practice of healthcare through inclusion of and engagement with patients.
Really? I mean, we talk about this ALL THE TIME in the many healthcare Twitter chats, the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media, the Make Health movement, various local initiatives at UMHS…. I mean, REALLY??? How has this been going on for years, and me watching for patient engagement topics, and still I didn’t know about it? It turns out, that was part of why I was invited. They are doing this extremely interesting work, but it isn’t widely known. The solution? Invite some strong social media voices to the event, and give them free rein to observe, engage, and respond to what’s going on around them. Smart.
Yes, that’s me at the far end of the picture, behind Alicia Stales (Chief Patient Officer of Akari Health), Susannah Fox (until recently Associate Director, Editorial, of the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project, but now Entrepreneur in Residence at @RWJF), and Pat Mastors (President and Co-Founder of the Patient Voice Institute). Thank you so much to Alicia Aebersold (Senior Vice President at the National Council for Behavioral Health) for the photo. Really, she should have been in the photo, not just taking it! Hard for me to believe I was there, rubbing shoulders with all the glorious people. There were a lot more who aren’t in this photo. I am tempted to start listing names, but if I did I’d leave out someone wonderful.
The AF4Q organizers did a strong job of incorporating social media into the event. They used two official hashtags: #AF4Q for the overall project and organization, #hcvalue for this specific event. These were posted prominently in every room, at the registration desk, and on the banners decorating the meeting space. I complicated matters by adding in custom tags for specific break out sessions, so that I could later distill and collate tweets from specific sub-events. This was pretty easy to do, as the breakout sessions were all numbered, so I’d just add the session number to the end of the shortest tag, like #AF4Q7. In addition to the hashtags, they also had staff assigned to each room and presentation, to make sure that there were official folk tweeting in addition to the invited voices and the attendees. I found it a little confusing that all the official staff tweeting were tweeting using the same account, but from different rooms and different sessions, without any indication of which room they were in or who was tweeting at a particular point. I recommended adding session tags, and the use of initials to distinguish separate voices in the shared account.
With that background, I think it’s time to look at some of the tweets, with the focus being on great ideas, thoughts, and resources shared. (There were selfies galore, but you can find those on your own, if you want the faces to go with the names.)
IDEAS & THOUGHTS