The American College of Physicians (ACP), the largest specialist physicians organization in the U.S., announced on January 16 that it has launched a new “High Value Care website” “to help physicians and other health care professionals, medical students, and patients understand the benefits, harms, and costs of tests and treatment options for common clinical issues and whether they provide good value.”
The new High Value Care website is located at: hvc.acponline.org.
The American College of Physicians (ACP), a non-profit organization, is “the largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States. ACP members include 133,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students,” the organization’s release indicates.
The ACP states on its website, “Misuse and overuse of medical interventions that do not directly improve a patient’s health contribute significantly to the unsustainable growth of healthcare spending. ACP’s goal is to determine whether diagnostic tests and treatments for various diseases provide good value, i.e. medical benefits that are commensurate with their costs and outweigh any harm. We do this by analyzing their benefits, harms, and costs based on the best available evidence.”
The new website includes:
- Patient Resources – including brochures and videos developed through a collaboration between ACP and Consumer Reports, and others. “Derived from ACP’s evidence-based clinical practice recommendations published in Annals of Internal Medicine, these resources are designed to help patients understand the benefits, harms, and costs of tests and treatments for common clinical issues,” the ACP states. The Patient Resources presented include:
- Low Back Pain - An article and video explaining why the ACP recommends that getting an X-ray, CT scan, or MRI to find the cause of lower back pain is usually not a good idea, at least at first.
- Type 2 Diabetes – An article explaining the ACP’s recommendation that “lifestyle changes alone can sometimes lower your blood sugar levels enough that drugs aren’t needed. And when they are, the best first choice usually isn’t one of the newer, heavily advertised ones on the market.” “Instead, it’s metformin, a drug that has been around for nearly two decades and is available as a low-cost generic,” says the ACP.
- Upper Endoscopy for GERD – An article explaining how “People with heartburn often undergo a procedure called endoscopy to see if gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) is the cause, and if it is, to check periodically for complications.” “But that’s usually not necessary,” according to the ACP.
- Choosing Wisely – Links to ChoosingWisely.org, a website of the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation which presents resources to help physicians and patients evaluate and choose medical tests and procedures wisely, recognizing that some “medical tests and procedures … may be unnecessary, and in some instances can cause harm.”
These resources include a list of “Five Things” (five common tests and procedures) that internists and patients should question in internal medicine, released by the ACP.
- High Value Care News and Videos — links to recent news articles about the concepts of High Value Care (choosing medical tests and procedures wisely), and a series of videos on this subject produced by the ACP.
- ACP Guidelines and Clinical Recommendations – which “provide clinicians information based on the best available evidence and help physicians and patients understand the benefits, harms, and costs of interventions and to determine whether services provide good value;”
- Physician Resources – including science-based publications, performance measurements, and professional ethics opinions and resources;
- A High Value, Cost-Conscious Care Curriculum for Educators, Residents and Students – including a presentation in developing a faculty, and an overview of the curriculum and some of the important topics covered;
- Public Policy Recommendations of the ACP — “As the nation’s largest medical specialty organization, ACP seeks to ensure that limited healthcare resources are used more effectively and efficiently,” the organization states on its new website. “We believe that physicians have an ethical responsibility to provide healthcare services that are necessary and effective and avoid care that is ineffective, inappropriate, or harmful,” the ACP states. “However, resource allocation decisions concerning use of limited healthcare resources must also be made at a policy level for the health care system.”
In this section of its new website, the ACP includes:
- A Position Paper by the ACP entitled, “How Can Our Nation Conserve and Distribute Health Care Resources Effectively and Efficiently?” which, the organization says, is intended to “engage the public in a process that it hopes will lead to consensus on conserving and allocating resources based on the best evidence of clinical effectiveness and value.”
- A copy of a September 2011 letter from the ACP to the Congressional Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction, in which the ACP “made recommendations to reduce healthcare spending in a socially and fiscally responsible manner.”
In the ACP’s January 16 statement announcing the organization’s new High Value Care website, David L. Bronson, MD, FACP, President of the ACP, said “The American College of Physicians is committed to helping physicians provide the best possible care to their patients while simultaneously slowing the unsustainable rate of health care costs.”
“Physicians and patients can use ACP’s High Value Care website to learn how to pursue care together to improve health, avoid harms, and reduce wasteful practices,” Dr. Bronson said.
Following is a copy of the news release issued January 16 by the American College of Physicians (ACP):
American College of Physicians launches new website to help physicians and patients practice high value care
PHILADELPHIA, January 16, 2013 — The American College of Physicians (ACP) has launched a new High Value Care website (hvc.acponline.org) to help physicians and other health care professionals, medical students, and patients understand the benefits, harms, and costs of tests and treatment options for common clinical issues and whether they provide good value.
“The American College of Physicians is committed to helping physicians provide the best possible care to their patients while simultaneously slowing the unsustainable rate of health care costs,” said David L. Bronson, MD, FACP, president, ACP. “Physicians and patients can use ACP’s High Value Care website to learn how to pursue care together to improve health, avoid harms, and reduce wasteful practices.”
The new website centralizes resources and information developed by ACP to support its ongoing High Value Care initiative. The streamlined design simplifies access to various features, including:
- ACP’s evidence-based clinical practice recommendations for specific tests and treatments, such as diagnostic imaging for low back pain and drug treatment of type 2 diabetes published in Annals of Internal Medicine, ACP’s flagship journal;
- resources to help implement high value care in physician practices, including ethical considerations, performance measurement recommendations, and peer-reviewed articles about high value care published in Annals of Internal Medicine;
- summaries of and links to ACP’s public policy papers advocating for legislative reforms that would enhance the delivery of care while reducing costs;
- the High Value Cost-Conscious Care Curriculum for internal medicine residents created by ACP and the Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine;
- patient education materials, including brochures for common clinical issues created in partnership with Consumer Reports and based on ACP’s evidence-based recommendations; and
- videos about high value care topics for physicians, medical students, and patients.
ACP launched its High Value Care initiative in 2010 because health care expenditures are projected to reach almost 20 percent of the United States’ GDP by 2020. Many economists consider this spending rate unsustainable. Up to 30 percent, or $765 billion, of health care costs were identified as potentially avoidable — with many of these costs attributed to unnecessary services.
“By identifying and eliminating wasteful practices that do not improve health, physicians can provide the best possible care to their patients while reducing unnecessary costs to the health care system at the same time,” said Steven E. Weinberger, MD, FACP, Chief Executive Officer and EVP, ACP.
ACP considers high value care as the delivery of services providing benefits that make their harms and costs worthwhile. Value is not merely cost. Some expensive tests and treatments have high value because they provide high benefit and low harm. Conversely, some inexpensive tests or treatments have low value because they do not provide enough benefit to justify even their low costs or might potentially be harmful.
About the American College of Physicians
The American College of Physicians (www.acponline.org) is the largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States. ACP members include 133,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter (www.twitter.com/acpinternists) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/acpinternists).
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ACP: Steve Majewski, email@example.com or 215-351-2514
Public Relations Coordinator
American College of Physicians
190 N. Independence Mall West
Philadelphia, PA 19106
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