AMA launches health outcome effort

AMA, partners focus on blood pressure, diabetes

The American Medical Association (AMA) launched on Monday a multi-year, multi-million dollar effort to improve health outcomes for those with cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes and to prevent it in those who may be at risk.

Cardiovascular disease and diabetes directly and indirectly cost more than $535 billion a year, Jeremy Lazarus, MD, AMA president told Healthcare Finance News in a phone interview. To combat that, the AMA is partnering with national programs to concentrate on risk factors and aim for optimal blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels for adults. The organization plans to spend $6 million in the first year on the initiative.

While a number of organizations have established initiatives to improve health outcomes, “the AMA through its reach with all its physicians, states and specialty societies will be able to engage physicians to communicate with their patients about the outcomes programs that we’re launching today,” Lazarus said. “We are hoping and thinking that it will give us the scale that we’re all going to need to work on these complicated issues.”

The AMA is partnering with the Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality, a research institute within Johns Hopkins Medicine, to help bring the high blood pressure of 10 million more Americans under control by 2017, and the YMCA, whose diabetes prevention programs were recently approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“They are evidence-based lifestyle change programs, and they are based in communities around the country,” Lazarus said. “They bring a range into the community that we think is very important.”

The AMA and its partners plan to identify a focused set of outcomes that would potentially have great impact on the population and then set a course of innovation and action to develop and establish strategies aimed at reducing the disease and cost burden associated with those conditions.