The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic was a stark reminder of how immediate pressures can sideline carefully mapped out agendas, but that shouldn’t mean losing sight of long-term needs.
This message was delivered by AMA Executive Vice President and CEO James L. Madara, MD during his speech at the opening session of the 2022 AMA Interim Meeting in Honolulu.
Dr. Madara spoke about the AMA’s 175th anniversary earlier this year during his speech at the 2022 AMA Annual Meeting in Chicago. In Honolulu, he highlighted another milestone: the 10th anniversary of WADA’s long-term strategic plan. (Read Dr. Madara’s speech.)
The plan was developed with two main goals in mind – that WADA’s actions more strongly reflect the mission of the organization and that those actions have a strong and positive impact.
This has led to a three-pronged strategy aimed at confronting chronic disease, stimulating professional development and breaking down barriers that interfere with patient care.
Chronic diseases are a ‘public health crisis that consumes 90% of our country’s healthcare costs’, said Dr Madara, describing how the AMA partners with other organizations to help doctors help patients. at high risk of heart disease better manage their blood pressure.
“With hypertension being the number one cause of death and disability in our country, this is an obvious place to start,” said the AMA CEO.
Along with the American Heart Association, the AMA recently recognized more than 1,300 healthcare organizations that have helped 8 million people with hypertension improve their heart health.
Work on this issue aligns with WADA’s work to advance health equity, Dr Madara said.
“Chronic diseases, such as hypertension, disproportionately affect people from historically disengaged and marginalized communities,” Dr Madara said. “Our work on hypertension is bolstered by our broad efforts to advance racial justice in medicine and eliminate health inequities – work led by the AMA Center for Health Equity.”
The AMA’s effort to drive the future of medicine by transforming medical education was initially focused on the undergraduate, expanding to a consortium of 37 medical schools and creating the “Third Science of Teaching medicine” – the science of health systems.
“We now have an additional consortium of 11 integrated health systems focused on reimagining residency with the single goal of optimizing the transition from medical school to residency and residency to practice,” noted the Dr Madara.
Additionally, the AMA Ed Hub™, launched in 2019, already offers more than 9,000 online educational resources.
A focus on removing barriers to care has been incorporated into the AMA’s stimulus plan for American physicians, which includes securing prior authorizations and reducing physician burnout as essential components .
This work also includes the creation of Health2047, the AMA’s Silicon Valley-based company. Health2047 develops new businesses that use innovative approaches to improve the environment for physicians.
Emergence, for example, is a company that supports the back office and organizational needs of firms. SiteBridge, on the other hand, makes it easier for small practices to participate in clinical trials and helps researchers obtain real-world data from a variety of sources.
“It’s important to note that the model here is of the business working for and in the service of physicians, not the other way around,” Dr Madara said.
“We have traveled a lot over the past 10 years,” said Dr. Madara, adding that physicians need a practice environment that better supports their efforts in patient care, training that prepares them to practicing 21st century medicine and tools to manage the “tsunami of chronic disease that is now sweeping through doctors’ offices”.
“I don’t know what our healthcare system will look like in 10 years, let alone by the middle of the century,” he added. “But I know that…if we don’t do these three things—which our policy framework focuses on—then our health care system, however it’s structured, will work even worse than it does today.” .
“It will be up to the leadership of physicians, to all of us, to realize the promise of this work which, in the most basic and fundamental way, promotes the art and science of medicine and the betterment of health public.”