The University of Washington Health of the Public Program has convened a consortium composed of the region's academic medical center, the two largest managed care plans in Washington, and representatives of the state's major private and public purchasers of health care. The consortium's purpose is to test the feasibility of collaboratively collecting cross-system data, assessing variations in practice, and implementing site-specific interventions to improve the management of common illnesses and encourage preventive care. Changes under way in the ambulatory training environment and in the undergraduate curriculum as a result of the consortium's initial efforts are described. In today's climate of cost consciousness and concerns about quality, academic medical centers can play an important role in helping to improve community-wide outcomes of care.
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