AMA Wire

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Special Feature

AMA takes aim at country's leading contributors to death and disease burden

AMA takes aim at country's leading contributors to death and disease burden

A new AMA initiative has set its sights on addressing the leading causes of suffering and death in the United States.

In the first stage of the AMA's Improving Health Outcomes initiative, announced Monday, the AMA is committing its expertise and resources to achieve measurable improvements in two conditions that have a profound impact on the health of Americans: cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

"Cardiovascular disease accounts for one third of all deaths in our nation, and one in three adults could have diabetes by 2050 if current trends continue," AMA President Jeremy A. Lazarus, MD, said in a news release. "The toll of these diseases on our nation is staggering—in terms of human suffering and health care costs. The direct and indirect cost of cardiovascular disease and diabetes is more than $535 billion a year."

Dr. Lazarus made the announcement at the 10th annual Health Disparities Leadership Summit hosted by the National Minority Quality Forum.

"When America's physicians work together with patients, local communities and other members of the health care team, we can have a tremendous impact on health outcomes," Dr. Lazarus told the group.

The AMA is bolstering work already under way across organized medicine, the public and private sectors, local communities, and the federal government to reduce the staggering disease burden associated with these two conditions by working to increase the number of adults whose blood pressure, blood glucose and lipids are at optimum levels.

One in three U.S. adults has high blood pressure—the number one risk factor for disability and death and a key risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Roughly the same percentage of adults have prediabetes.

Key to the initiative's success will be collaboration with other leaders in improving health around these conditions.

The AMA announced a new partnership with the Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality, a research institute within the Johns Hopkins University, to help patients with hypertension bring their blood pressure under control. In line with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' "Million Hearts®" Initiative's goal for 10 million more Americans to have their hypertension under control by 2017, the groups will initially focus on the 30 million patients with high blood pressure who have a care provider but have not yet achieved a healthy blood pressure.

To help prevent type 2 diabetes and its associated complications, the AMA is partnering with the YMCA of the USA. The AMA will work closely with the YMCA of the USA to increase participation in evidence-based lifestyle change programs to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes in individuals at high risk. This effort is in support of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Diabetes Prevention Program.

"These are the first steps toward the AMA's ambitious, long-term goal of achieving measurable improvements in health outcomes for patients in the United States," Dr. Lazarus said. "We look forward to partnering with many individuals and organizations who share these goals."

Through this initiative, the AMA will help to make the future a healthier one for all Americans.