Leadership

Time to flip construct and put patients, doctors first: AMA CEO

The AMA has refined its strategic approach, focusing on three big ideas that are aligned with the changing needs of patients and physicians, said AMA Executive Vice President and CEO James L. Madara, MD. He outlined how the Association is moving forward on these initiatives that are “flipping the current construct” so that physician perspective and experience drives medical innovation.

Dr. Madara spoke during the opening session of the 2018 AMA Annual Meeting in Chicago, and he reported on progress made to reimagine medical education, improve the nation’s health and increase physicians’ professional satisfaction and practice sustainability.

The AMA Accelerating Change in Medical Education Consortium experienced a major milestone this spring as students from Consortium member schools celebrated their graduation.

“These tech-savvy physicians entered their residencies with new skills and competencies proven by measurement, knowledge of what electronic health records could and should deliver, a deep understanding of the social determinants of health, of population health, and teamwork within the health care environment,” Dr. Madara told delegates. “We’ve produced new physicians who are adaptive learners, capable team-leaders, with a greater awareness of policy. This is a major shift in medical education.”

He added that the AMA will soon launch a digital education hub and recently debuted a new open-access clinical research journal, JAMA Network Open.

Major strides also have been taken to improve the nation’s health, as the AMA has teamed up with high-profile partners on efforts that have the potential to improve the lives of millions of patients.

Partnerships with the American Diabetes Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have contributed to  more than 1 million people self-screening for prediabetes. And a goal has been set to have 20 million Americans measure their own blood pressure by 2020 through a partnership between the AMA and the American Heart Association.

“Partnerships are essential in advancing the work” of the AMA, Dr. Madara said. That is true “, whether we’re creating new strategies around medical education and training, confronting the rise of chronic disease, or helping develop the technologies that reduce the dysfunction that so frustrates us.”

IT that avoids the old approach

The AMA’s broad effort to extract greater meaning from health data through the Integrated Health Model Initiative launched last fall, has, like similarly pioneering work in technology, been built through partnerships with some of the industry leaders in information and technology—including IBM Watson, Accenture, Google and Samsung.

“Key in these relationships is that we define problems that need solutions from the vantage point of the patient-physician interface—not from the vantage of administrative level,” Dr. Madara said. “Executives are starting to understand the importance of engaging and incorporating the physician perspective into new technologies, new strategies and new systems that will define the future of medicine.”

He highlighted the work of a company of which the AMA was a founding investor, Health2047 Inc., named for the year the AMA will celebrate its bicentennial. The Silicon Valley company’s approach “avoids the problems created by solutions which start at the administrative level and “then thrown over the transom to the site where medicine actually occurs,” Dr. Madara said.

“Physicians need to be educated for this century, not the last century,” Dr. Madara concluded. “Electronic clinical data needs to be much better and more meaningfully organized. Such organized clinical data needs to flow through an interconnected utility that decreases, not increases cost and, in the face of the still-rising burden of chronic disease, we need both prevention and control approaches that are evidence-based and scalable.”

Read more news coverage from the 2018 AMA Annual Meeting.