AMA Wire

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Special Feature

AMA event offers insight into innovations for future of medicine

AMA event offers insight into innovations for future of medicine

An inspiring AMA event debuted last month to an excited crowd of physicians and medical students gathered in Chicago for the Annual Meeting.

The AMA's "Innovations in Medicine" program, a series of brief, informal presentations in the style of TED Talks, captured the audience's imagination and painted a picture of innovations for the future of medicine. Six physician thinkers and doers shared insights into changes taking place today that will drive the nation toward more affordable care, healthier patients and more professionally satisfied physicians.

Howard Bauchner, MD, editor-in-chief of The JAMA Network, kicked off the event with a single question: "How do you manage change in a complex situation?" One of the keys, he said, is a shared vision. In the span of just 90 minutes, he and the other speakers gave just that. Watch videos of the event online.

In his talk, Dr. Bauchner predicted that "precision medicine" is on the horizon, an era in which physicians will understand and treat such diseases as cancer on a more granular level. He also suggested that training for medical students and residents could become directly integrated with the health care system, giving trainees real-world experience before they enter practice.

Grace Terrell, MD, talked about some of the ways health care delivery is changing so that physicians can focus on keeping patients healthy. Following changes to their group practice's payment model, one of Dr. Terrell's colleagues remarked, "This is the way I've wanted to practice medicine my whole life."

David Ellington, MD, explained how the CPT® Editorial Panel is spearheading coding changes that allow physicians to provide state-of-the art care, including new codes that physicians can report for coordinating patients' care.

The audience was challenged to re-evaluate how they treat overweight patients when Fatima Cody Stanford, MD, shared stories of numerous patients who presented with obesity but were struggling with underlying health issues, including two young people who died in their sleep from undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea.

"The environment in which our bodies function has changed," Dr. Stanford said. "When we see patients, we need to recognize that there may be things outside of their realms of control."

Theresa Rohr-Kirchgraber, MD, highlighted how spending time asking patients a few questions about their diet can lead to simple solutions for health ailments—and save health care dollars. Finding out that a pregnant woman doesn't eat vegetables can help prevent spina bifida in her child, or asking a college student what beverages he drinks may help determine why he has heart palpitations.

The event came to a fitting conclusion as Bechara Choucair, MD, set forth his vision for improving the health of an entire city. As commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, he has applied his internal medicine background in citywide initiatives that empower patients to make the right choices—including a campaign to reduce teen pregnancy that has captured attention around the world.

Before closing, Dr. Choucair encouraged physicians to move forward with these ideas in their own communities. "You can make a difference," he said.