30 health systems pursuing top-to-bottom age-friendly care with new collaborative

Thirty health systems from across the country have signed onto an 18-month initiative to explore how best to provide quality care for older adults.

Orchestrated by the nonprofit Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) and the John A. Hartford Foundation philanthropy, the Age-Friendly System-Wide Spread Collaborative will see participating organizations sharing data and other learnings to scale equitable care delivery for the growing demographic.

Such care, per IHI, follows a framework focused on delivering “the 4Ms: What Matters, Medication, Mentation and Mobility.” These areas respectively focus on older adults’ specific health outcome goals and care preferences, the use of medications that don’t interfere with older adults’ lifestyles, taking conditions impacting mental acuity into account, and facilitating safe daily movement to maintain function.

“This collaborative will give health systems the tools they need to provide the highest standard of care to every older adult at every care interaction and will exponentially increase the number of people who will benefit from the 4Ms,” Leslie Pelton, vice president at IHI, said in the nonprofit group’s announcement.

The list of participating systems includes names like Advocate Health, CommonSpirit Health, Northwell Health, Providence and Sutter Health. The organizations run several different types of care sites—hospitals, nursing homes, ambulatory care practices and so forth—and will be exploring how age-friendly care delivery differs in each type of setting.

Each participant has at least two care sites that IHI has previously recognized as “Committed to Care Excellence,” and by participating in the collaborative may be able to be among the first to receive IHI’s new designation for organizations that practice the 4Ms system-wide.

“The Age-Friendly Health Systems vision is that every older adult in every health care encounter receives evidence-based, age-friendly care that focuses on what matters most to them,” Terry Fulmer, president of The John A. Hartford Foundation, said in the announcement. “These innovative health systems are fulfilling that vision by committing to spreading age-friendly care from their emergency departments to their outpatient clinics, into their patients’ homes and beyond.”

The collaborative announced this week adds to the groups’ Age-Friendly Health Systems initiative, which also counts the American Hospital Association and the Catholic Health Association of the United States as partners. Since 2018, it’s recognized 3,907 different care settings with an “Age-Friendly” designation.

In a kickoff call held by IHI earlier this month, the group said it hopes to have 75% of facilities servicing older adults recognized as Committed to Care Excellence by October 2025. Further, it’s aiming to have 60% of all older adults served in IHI-recognized facilities receiving care aligned with the 4M framework by the same target.