New project has long-term goal: Unleash new era of patient care

Sara Berg, MS , News Editor

The health data available to physicians and health systems are too often not enough to provide a complete picture of each patient. For example, information about an asthma patient’s family support, goals, risk factors and lifestyle can make all the difference when it comes to designing the optimal treatment plan that allows the patient to take an active role in their care and achieve better outcomes. This patient-contributed data could also relieve some of the data-entry burden borne by the health care team.

With the AMA’s Integrated Health Model Initiative (IHMI), health care and technology stakeholders can work together to address data needs around costly and burdensome areas such as hypertension, diabetes and asthma. IHMI aims to support a continuous learning environment to enable interoperable technology solutions and care models that evolve with real-world use and feedback.

“We spend more than $3 trillion a year on health care in America and generate more health data than ever before. Yet some of the most meaningful data—data to unlock potential improvements in patient outcomes—is fragmented, inaccessible or incomplete,” said AMA Executive Vice President and CEO James L. Madara, MD, in a statement.

The IHMI platform brings health and technology sectors together around a common data model, aiming to create a framework for organizing data across health care. It seeks to provide a shared framework for organizing health data, emphasizing patient-centric information and data elements most predictive of achieving better outcomes, goals and wellness for patients.

Participation in the Integrated Health Model Initiative is open to all health care and technology stakeholders. Early collaborators include IBM, Cerner, Intermountain Healthcare, American Heart Association, the American Medical Informatics Association and a growing list of other organizations.



With access to patient data available around function, state and goals, physicians can better partner with patients using the information that strives to improve and support their health.

“The collaborative effort of IHMI will help the health system learn how to collect, organize and exchange patient-centered data in a common structure that captures what is most important for improving care and long-term wellness, and transform the data into a rich stream of accessible and actionable information,” AMA President David O. Barbe, MD, MHA, said in a statement.

The “function” portion of these patient data tell about the ability to complete a task that can be assessed before and after treatment. This might be the function of a knee as it is related to running and then how knee-replacement surgery has affected the patient. With the “state” part of this data comes information the patient’s health at any given point, defining health and wellness across the spectrum of care, such as a poor state before knee-replacement surgery.

And the “goals” section refers to the desired outcomes and actions, as defined by the patient. One patient’s goal might be to run after knee-replacement surgery, while another patient’s goal may be to walk comfortably. Allowing this information to be organized after knee-replacement surgery can provide further insight into what devices, procedures and surgical centers deliver the best outcomes for individual patients.

With the Integrated Health Model Initiative, the AMA is dedicated to hosting clinical and issue-based digital communities. These are designed to foster collaborative efforts around common interests and areas of need such as hypertension management, diabetes prevention, asthma functional status and patient goals, and defining wellness.

The Integrated Health Model Initiative intends, over the long run, to support innovation built around what is meaningful to physicians and patients.

“IHMI is the latest development in the AMA’s ongoing work to build bridges with health technology leaders and bring the physician voice into the innovation space. Patients deserve—and the marketplace should expect—physician input on the real-world value and feasibility of products and health technologies,” said AMA Senior Vice President of Health Solutions Laurie McGraw in a statement.

“With a proven track record as a trusted, neutral convener, the AMA is uniquely qualified to lead and facilitate a collaboration that helps physicians take on a greater role in leading changes that will move technological innovations forward,” she added.

IHMI will additionally provide a clinical validation process where participants will provide submissions to specify data elements and relationships. Clinical content submissions will be reviewed by a physician panel known as the Clinical Review Group, to evaluate clinical applicability. If a submission is found to be clinically valid based on the supporting science, it will be distributed as clinical content on the Integrated Health Model Initiative platform.

The AMA invites all physicians, health care and technology stakeholders to join IHMI and contribute their unique expertise in this effort to transform health care. Two upcoming Integrated Health Model Initiative digital community panel discussions will delve into salient issues in diabetes prevention and hypertension control.